U.S. vinyl flooring manufacturers are aware of the dangers and have taken steps to eliminate phthalates from their vinyl products. To be sure, there are questions you should ask.Q: I have put my plans to put vinyl flooring in my kitchen and family room on hold because of news reports about phthalates in vinyl flooring. Why is this information just coming out now, and can you recommend an LVT (Luxury Vinyl Tile) that does not contain these chemicals?
A: This is not new news. The Consumer Product Safety Commission and the U.S. EPA have been looking at potential health concerns with phthalates for more than a decade. It began in the 1990s, with studies, and then rules restricting phthalate use in children’s items, like rattles and teethers -- things that they would routinely put in their mouths. Flooring was not on the list.
More recently, the U.S. EPA has issued an action plan for several phthalates, some of which have been used in vinyl flooring.
DuChateau strives for vinyl flooring that is better for people and planetMore 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.”
IMPORTANT NOTE: This article was accurate as of the date it was published, and was signed off on by all of the manufacturer sources quoted. That said, manufacturers frequently change their formulations and ingredients, so this article, given its age, becomes background. DO NOT rely on this article for purchasing these manufacturers’ current products. The questions are relatively simple, but if you would like help in getting guaranteed answers about certifications on a current product, sign up at: https://www.naturalinteriors.com/consumer-subscription/Indoor Air Quality Certifications offer some, but not complete, assurance about vinyl flooringQ. While I am intrigued by natural, linoleum products, my budget is more inclined toward the Naturcor vinyl flooring I am looking at buying from my local flooring dealer. I also am concerned about buying a product that does not emit excessive chemicals, and I have been warned about dioxin, which is a carcinogen, by another blogger.
Still, I have seen some vinyl brands advertise that they are green. What is the truth about vinyl?
A. The truth about vinyl – or polyvinyl chloride (PVC) – is that it isn’t the preferred product of environmentalists or most green product enthusiasts. But dioxin is an end-of-product life or house fire issue, because it is released when PVC is incinerated.