12 Sep More Vinyl Goes Phthalate-Free
DuChateau strives for vinyl flooring that is better for people and planet
More mainstream flooring manufacturers are paying attention to the growing controversy over phthalates – a plasticizer – in vinyl flooring, even though studies suggesting a link between phthalates and lowered IQ, endocrine problems and respiratory ailments have been dismissed as independent and fringe.
DuChateau Floors is now making vinyl without phthalates, though the product’s backing, made using recycled content, still may contain trace amounts because old product is recycled by the company.
This switch by DuChateau follows the introduction by competitor Tarkett of its “phthalate-free except for recycled content” vinyl flooring earlier this year.
“Only a very small portion of phthalate-containing plasticizer can be detected from the recycled bottom layer,” says Don Bufalini, western regional sales manager for DuChateau Floors. “The tile should not really be affected by the phthalates if they are in the bottom layer.”
Phthalates are not a volatile organic compound (VOC), so they are not measured by FloorScore Indoor Air Quality Certification, which DuChateau has. This test measures 38 VOCs in accordance with limits set by California specification 01350. GREENGUARD Children & Schools Indoor Air Quality Certification is more stringent, and does test for phthalates.
Wanke Cascade distribution, based in Portland, OR, has begun distributing DuChateau vinyl, following about two years of distributing DuChateau’s Forest Steward Council (FSC)-certified hardwood.
“Many of the vinyl looks are that of hardwood patterns, but the vinyl is a bigger draw for customers who need something more economical or suited to site or maintenance conditions that don’t lend themselves to hardwood,” says Victoria Haugen, marketing director for Wanke Cascade. “It’s our expectation that DuChateau’s vinyl, like its hardwood, is top-notch.”
The “green” building community has traditionally been leery of vinyl products, not just because of phthalates, but also carcinogenic dioxins that can be released in manufacturing the product or if the product catches on fire.
DuChateau, which has a US sales office in San Diego, expects its product to qualify it for recycled content credit, in addition to low-emitting materials credit, under the US Green Building Council’s LEED rating system.©
— Nancy Kibbee is editor at naturalinteriors.com.