Although vinyl tiles are attractive and economical, some study claimed that it contains harmful chemicals which impose a high risk to our health. Some reports say the banning of vinyl floors for children’s products was due to a study which indicated that it tested for toxic phthalates. The samples tested were from major retailers. 58% of the samples tested positive for phthalates, which exists in flooring levels exceeding U.S Consumer Safety Commissions. The study went ahead to assess whether these major retailers had put in place measures to eliminate phthalates. The result stated that one of the major home improvement store companies are far ahead of competition from its counterparts, in such that they require their suppliers also to do away with ortho-phthalates for all new vinyl flooring.
Ongoing research by the Ecology Centre indicates that 65 substances of the flooring system have been associated with liver toxicity, learning disabilities, asthma, reproductive problems, birth defects and even cancer. The samples were obtained from 5 different retailers in seven different states.
Highlights of findings of the study.
- One or more hazardous chemicals exist in 58 % of the vinyl tiles. They contained phthalate plasticizer which currently debated on whether or not its prohibition is imperative in the European Union. A further 98% of the vinyl tiles contained organic tin-based stabilizers and another 50% also contained many plasticizers.
- Due to Home Depots’ commitment to eliminating phthalates, a more comprehensive policy was implemented compared to those of the competitors. By the 1st quarter of 2015, Home Depot had already accomplished a phase out of 85%. Most of the other retailers did not have any well-established plan of eliminating the phthalates.
- Some brands, manufacturers and retailers proved to be better than others. Some of the big-name brands have yet to test any tiles yet for hazardous chemicals. Ace Hardware and Lumber Liquidators obtained samples that both contain high percentages of Phthalates.
- There are healthier alternatives for flooring. Ceramic tiles, Bio-based data, and linoleum are some of the healthier flooring options. Apparently, these options exist in the same retailer shops that are committed to selling the Vinyl tiles.
The study tested for the chemicals in the vinyl tiles based on their toxicity. The method included a use of non-destructive methods giving room for rapid analysis. This a great leap in global efforts in the elimination of phthalates in the commercial sector for safer alternatives.
Evidence that phthalate pose harmful effects to human health is available and is based purely on studies. The immune system, brain development, and the male reproductive organs are some of the major areas affected by the chemical compound. Asthma is also associated with it. The phthalates can reach the human system simply by getting into the air and dust particles and then eventually finding its way into our bodies. CDC reports that about 90% of American citizens have phthalates in their bodies. This has greatly contributed to the expanding ban on phthalates within the United States. Some states have since required disclosures for several phthalates in the consumer products. Toxic hazards, through recycled vinyl, is being introduced into our homes offices and schools by its use as a flooring option. Some PVC products like cadmium, lead and phthalates are also turning up in an array of new products through the recycled content.
So, before you select vinyl tile flooring, consider the above and perhaps, finding a healthier alternative would be more beneficial.