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Is Vinyl Flooring Toxic?

Yes, vinyl flooring is toxic because it contains Polyvinyl chloride (PVC). This compound is known to pose severe threats to the lives of humans and animals. It also leads to the pollution of the environment. PVC can also readily contaminate water bodies like streams.

Also, Vinyl flooring contains other compounds such as plasticizers, stabilizers, phthalates mixed with additives, pigments, and fillers. Phthalates are harmful to both humans and animals. They can increase the risk of health problems like cancer, asthma, kidney, lung, and even reproductive issues. 

Nowadays, Vinyl floors remain popular in residential homes because of their numerous benefits. With this type of flooring, you enjoy advantages like low cost, less noise, and durability. Another thing is that it’s easy to install. 

Despite the advantages, you must be cautious about the health implications of using the vinyl floorings in your home. It contains toxins that are known to be harmful to both humans and pets.

Why Is Vinyl Flooring Toxic?

According to research, it was found that most vinyl floors made from recycled plastic contain toxic phthalates. Furthermore, they contain poisonous substances like lead, cadmium, brominated flame retardants, and other dangerous compounds.

These poisonous constituents can contribute to the contamination of indoor air as they drift out of the floor into the air and dust in your apartment. Thankfully, Major retailers, including Lumber Liquidators, Home Depot, are taking steps to eliminate poisonous phthalates from their vinyl floors.

Tips To Consider When Purchasing Flooring

  • Ensure you choose hard floors and rugs instead of carpets that can be removed and cleaned outdoors
  • Go for vinyl-free products like hardwood, linoleum, and ceramic tile.
  • Look out for environmentally friendly or non-toxic alternatives.
  • Ensure you ask manufacturers and installers questions about the type of materials used and environmental requirements.
  • Opt-out of stain-resistance treatments.
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Which Vinyl Flooring Has Toxins?

No brands of vinyl flooring have the same levels of toxins. Some companies have set themselves to eliminate toxic floors, while others still keep the toxic product in stock. For instance, a major retailer like Home Depot has been committed to removing toxic materials contained in Vinyl flooring for the past few years.

So based on a CDC report, after conducting tests on different brands of flooring, the following vinyl flooring was found to contain some kind of toxic phthalates:

  • 100 % of Lumber Liquidators and Ace Hardware
  • 48% of Lowes’ products
  • 25% of Build.com
  • 23% of Menards

The above indicates that there is a variation in toxin levels in vinyl. The fact is that the levels of toxic substances in some of the vinyl flooring chips may not be high enough to boost the chances of exposure to harmful substances.

Impact On Environment After Installation

Adhesives

The adhesives used to mount vinyl tiles typically come with a lot of issues. This issue includes the presence of compounds that can cause VOC emissions after installation. Another problem is the presence of asbestos.

Fortunately, many of these problems are solved with modern adhesive mixtures. Nevertheless, you must ensure to read all labels and installation guidelines carefully to make sure that you do not risk your health.

Volatile Organic Chemicals (VOC’s)

The constituents used in its making of vinyl sometimes give off varying amounts of volatile organic chemicals or VOCs in the air for a period after the first installation. These toxic substances are dangerous to the quality of the air in the atmosphere and can cause severe breathing problems over time.

The material quality and the time passed since installation determines the level of VOCs released into the environment. You can primarily minimize these effects by making sure you buy from a reliable source of materials. After that, ensure you keep your room well ventilated for a few days or even weeks after installation.

Fire hazards

When there is a fire outbreak in your house, the vinyl on your floor is likely to turn into a flame. When this happens, noxious fumes will be released, and they will fill the atmosphere with poisonous toxins and dioxins.

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This above statement holds true regardless of whether it’s a large scale fire outbreaks, or when a small area of the floor catches fire by dropping something accidentally.

Durability

With proper installation and care, vinyl flooring can last 10 to 20 years. Much longer than most carpeting and other soft surface solutions. This saves you from the waste and environmental pollution from years of removing, disposing, and replacing your floors.

Meanwhile, you cannot refinish vinyl floors. Once the material is damaged, you remove it and then replace it with another one. For floor tiles, this is a relatively straightforward process, and you remove single tiles with little effort. 

With sheet metal, the only way to fix the bottom is to get rid of some parts. Once the entire floor area is worn out, the material is unusable and must be wholly replaced.

Health Risks Associated With Vinyl Flooring

Once vinyl floors are installed in your home, the toxins released from the floor into the air become gaseous and cause a pungent odor within the surrounding. 

The off-gassed chemical released into the air generates toxic fumes. If inhaled by humans, it causes damages to the body. This poisonous product poses a hazardous and potentially catastrophic risk to human health and the environment. 

As the chemicals made from the vinyl itself to the substances (VOCs) used to mount vinyl as adhesives, they can all create a toxic environment in your home. Symptoms that may occur after placing using vinyl flooring in your home include the following:

  • Liver and kidney damage
  • Headaches
  • Eye irritation
  • Nausea
  • Allergic skin reaction
  • Fatigue
  • Nose irritation
  • Dizziness
  • Conjunctival irritation
  • Throat irritation
  • Asthma

What Are The Drawbacks Of Vinyl Floors?

Although vinyl floors are remarkably cheap and look like they are made of real wood, installing them can cost you much more over the years. Below are some disadvantages of vinyl flooring include:

  • Vinyl plank flooring cannot be repaired
  • It can produce volatile organic compounds (VOCs)
  • They have a shorter lifespan than wood floors
  • There is virtually no impact, or negative impact, on home resale value.
  • It’s tough to remove, mainly if you apply adhesive during installation.
  • Vinyl plank flooring is not eco-friendly. They are also difficult to recycle
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Frequently Asked Questions

Is vinyl flooring safe for babies?

Research shows that vinyl flooring and sofas with flame retardants can pose a risk to a child’s health. However, we hardly consider the dangers that certain chemicals can pose to the health of children. Instead, we usually think more about pesticides and air pollution.

What flooring is best for babies?

Cork provides a safe and comfortable, playing surface for your toddlers.It can cushion their falls and, ultimately, their footsteps. This is a feature you’ll appreciate more as your toddler grows. Cork is an excellent option for parents looking for eco-friendly flooring solutions. Besides, they’re warmer and softer than wood flooring.

Is vinyl plank flooring toxic?

Yes, Vinyl flooring is toxic because they’re made from phthalates mixed with plasticizers, stabilizers, pigments, and many harmful compounds. This makes Vinyl plank flooring to pollute indoor air. Furthermore they can cause serious damages to our bodies easily.

What flooring is least toxic?

There are many options for choosing non-toxic flooring suitable for chemically sensitive availability. The best alternatives are real hardwood, polished concrete, and tiles. But specific brands of natural carpet linoleum and crafted wood are also excellent choices.

Is vinyl flooring used in high-end homes?

Yes. In the past, this type of vinyl flooring was mostly used in commercial buildings for ages. However, nowadays, it’s also installed in  common high-end residential apartments. Luxury vinyl flooring is available in many models, including tiles similar to natural stone and boards that have the same appearance as hardwood flooring.

Do you put vinyl flooring under appliances?

Even though most vinyl floor companies will advise their customers never to install vinyl planks under any appliance, it is safe to put vinyl flooring under your appliances. Note that this only applies as much as your devices weigh less than 500 pounds.

Final Wrap

Finally, installing non-toxic vinyl flooring for your home may not be a simple project due to its toxicity. The constituent compounds of this type of flooring are a significant source of air pollution and contamination in our environment.

Fortunately, a lot of big-time retailers are working tirelessly to make the vinyl flooring more eco-friendly. Once this is achieved, you will worry less about pollution and other health hazards.