We're big believers in avoiding chemicals in PVC products, so you can imagine how excited we were to hear that The Home Depot will phase out toxic phthalates in vinyl flooring by the end of 2015! In fact, they've already accomplished 85 percent of the phase-out.
This amazing news came in response to the Mind the Store Campaign release of a report by HealthyStuff.org where 65 samples of vinyl flooring purchased from 5 major retailers were tested for phthalates. They found that Lumber Liquidators and Ace Hardware had phthalates in 100 percent of the flooring samples tested. Whoa!
The good news is that several of the retailers, including Lumber Liquidators, reported that they're already working with suppliers to transition to safer alternatives.
Constant Exposure to Phthalates is Dangerous for Children
According to the Ecology Center, a growing body of credible scientific evidence has linked exposure to phthalates to serious threats to human health including asthma, harm to male reproductive organs, brain development, and the immune system.
Phthalates can migrate out of flooring materials and get into the air and dust inside homes. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over 90 percent of Americans have measurable levels of phthalates in their bodies. Government regulators around the world are increasing scrutiny and restrictions on the use of some phthalates. The United States is expanding its ban on phthalates in toys and childcare articles and considering further actions on other products. Several states, including California, Washington and Maine require warnings or disclosure for several phthalates in consumer products.
Recycled Vinyl is Reintroducing Toxic Hazards into Our Homes
Reduce, reuse and recycle, right? Not always!
New research published today by the Healthy Building Network reveals that legacy toxic hazards are now being reintroduced into our homes, schools and offices in recycled vinyl content that is routinely added to floors and other building products. Legacy substances used in PVC products, like lead, cadmium, and phthalates, are turning up in new products through the use of cheap recycled content.
Healthier Flooring Options
Many of the retailers surveyed also sell non-vinyl flooring alternatives. Healthier flooring options include bio-based linoleum, natural rubber and ceramic tile.
How to Avoid PVC in Other Household Products
Why go to all the trouble to avoid toxic PVC (vinyl) plastic? Lead. Phthalates. VOC’s. Dioxin. Just for starters. Learn how to reduce your exposure by avoiding these common sources of soft, flexible PVC.