Pet Urine and Ammonia Dangers in Your Carpet | The Frightening Story of Baby Ava
Photo by wkn
Moving into a new apartment can be an exciting time, but for this family, it was almost tragic. What was lurking beneath the carpeting of their new apartment was a monster waiting to strike! If you are moving into a new apartment or home and have children, you need to read this!
The Estes family was like every other family with a newborn that needed a little more space, so they rented a larger apartment in Northwest Indiana. It was a joyous time as their newborn, Ava, was close to crawling and they could see all the beautiful changes occurring! Their new apartment was closer to work, had two bedrooms and a beautiful office. There was only one issue that they had seen before they moved in. The previous tenants were construction workers, had dogs, cats and smelled of urine. The wall to wall carpeting needed to be cleaned! They weren’t too worried as the carpeting was brown and stain-resistant.
The landlord allowed them to rent a steam cleaner and deduct it from their rent, as many landlords do.
So, the Estes family rented a carpeting cleaning machine from their local hardware store and proceeded to clean the carpeting. The stains did not all come out, but all in all the pet smell was gone and they were ready to move in. Everything seemed to be going just fine as over the next week they settled in. Their baby, Ava, was starting to roll over and sit up now and it was very exciting!
The family had been laying blankets out on the floor for her to practice her newfound abilities, but as the next few weeks came, so did a mysterious illness that Ava began to exhibit! Ava began having difficulty breathing and started to break out with a rash on her skin. They brought her to the doctor and the doctor suggested that they change the laundry detergent they were using to wash the clothes, as that could give Ava an allergic reaction. At the advice of the doctor, they made the switch, but the problem persisted. Ava seemed to be getting worse and now she wasn’t even wanting to roll over anymore. The Estes family was worried! Another doctor visit later and the doctor ordered an allergy test.
The test results were conclusive as Ava’s allergy. She was allergic to ammonia. It seems pretty simple as the doctor advised them to keep her away from any products that contained ammonia. They got home and went through their cabinets and threw away all products containing ammonia. They were confident that they had rid themselves of the issue as they threw away their favorite cleaning product that contained the culprit! Things would get better, so they thought.
As their housewarming party was approaching, Ava showed no signs of improvement. They were worried sick! The day of their housewarming party was finally here and guests arrived. One guest, Rick, quickly alerted the Estes family to something that brought great worry to them! Rick had noticed a foul smell coming from the carpet. Rick was always very sensitive to these types of things, so the Estes family slightly disregarded Rick’s comments. However, the next day, Mr. Estes decided to get closer to the carpeting in the general area where Rick had alluded to. Mr. Estes’ eyes closed as he inhaled near the carpeting. What he smelled connected all the dots!
There was a foul smell of dog or cat urine near the floor! Pet urine contains ammonia! The Estes family had finally found out the source of their worries! They called Rick back to thank him for his keen sense of smell and helping them to find the source of their daughter’s ailments! Rick was quick to recommend a carpet cleaner in Chicago that he knew would be able to assist them. The professional carpet cleaners came out, despite the long drive, after hearing about their daughter. The carpet cleaner recommended that the carpet be peeled back and cleaned from the backside in the areas of the urine. So, painstakingly, that’s what they did!
Over the next few months, Ava returned to her normal playful self and Rick became the family hero! Rick was reluctant to visit the Estes family again, but was happy to note that the house was now “Rick approved” and no longer smelled of cat urine!
It is very important to note that there are serious implications to being exposed to pet urine and the accompanying ammonia. Often, “pet hoarders” become unaware of the harmful effects, however, there are neurological issues that can arise!
For example, ammonia is a potent ocular and respiratory irritant at concentrations of 50 ppm or greater (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health,1994). OSHA recommends that eight-hour occupational exposures not exceed 35 ppm and theNational Institute for Occupational Safety and health lists concentrations of 300 ppm or greater as immediately dangerous to life and health (Oc-cupational Safety and Health Administration,1989). Little information exists about ammonia levels in animal hoarding situations, but in one case, air ammonia levels were recorded as 152 ppm after the home had been ventilated by the fire department…
Source: Health implications of animal hoarding – Health & social work 27(2):125-136
Pet urine can be toxic and especially to children that play near the floor! If you think your child is exposed, take action fast! Don’t wait to train your pets properly and clean the carpets and floors promptly! The best way to clean any floor that’s been peed on by a pet is to soak up as much as the mess as possible, rinse with water and repeat the steps until the smell is gone. You may also consider using Nature’s Maricle to break down the ammonia in the urine. Then call a carpet cleaning professional near you.