Vinyl is the most common type of flooring used in many households. It is because the material is quite economical regarding installation, purchasing, and maintenance. Also, it comes in a variety of shades that can complement any existing theme you might have. But how safe is this product to your health? Continuous usage of vinyl can expose you and your family members to a lot of toxins, which results in adverse medical conditions.
The production of vinyl flooring comprises the use of a variety of components like phthalates, plasticizers, fillers, and pigmentations. The central part is polyvinyl chloride (PVC). During the process, there is a high amount of dioxin production, which is a very harmful element when exposed to the environment. Even the people engaged in manufacturing suffer risks before it gets to your house. In the case of open-air, they will get carried by the wind, and in the worst-case scenario, they get inhaled by animals. Typically vinyl material is hard, but on the addition of phthalates, it becomes soft and ideal for the type of flooring you want. Phthalate is a severe toxin that leads to respiratory problems like asthma. Pregnant mothers exposed to this product have high chances of delivering babies with this allergy. Anyone living in the manufacturing surrounding will get negatively impacted as well.
2. Are There Any Effects After Installation?
Since the majority of products for manufacturing are harmful, the impacts get transferred from the plants to your house. Vinyl flooring can emit volatile organic chemicals into the atmosphere. Such elements are dangerous both to you and the environment. You will start experiencing respiratory problems, and even the organisms on the lowest part of the food chain suffer. The amount increases as time goes by, but with proper ventilation, you can reduce the effects. Also, certain types of adhesives used for binding contain asbestos that promotes the release of these chemical. Ensure that you analyze these products and check all the contents before purchasing them.
In the event of an accident like fire, this flooring emits toxic fumes full of harmful elements like dioxins, which can result in suffocation. After damages, the materials become useless as they cannot get recycled. Although it can serve you for a period of up to 20 years, disposing of it is a further degradation of the ecosystem. For a material to get recycled, it needs to have an even composition of a variety of substances. For the case of vinyl, production does not follow this protocol hence making it incompatible.
3. Is There Safe Vinyl Flooring?
The level of toxins in vinyl flooring varies such that others are too high while the advanced types contain lower levels that have minimal effects. However, petroleum being the source of all manufacturing components; it is safe to say that is no type of vinyl flooring free of toxins. Although some sellers will try to convince you otherwise, do not be fooled by appearances and attractive costs. There are other types of flooring materials that serve just the same purpose and even last longer like linoleum. It gets produced by recyclable materials hence no harm to the environment or yourself. If possible, opt for this kind or instead only use vinyl in a location with a balanced circulation of air. Also, consider the types of materials and levels emission that your choice of vinyl flooring will produce.
It is advisable to choose environmentally sustainable types of flooring for your house for the sake of your health. However, manufacturers are still trying to find a way to make these materials better. Maybe with time, there will be a safer product in the market.