Following the class action lawsuit against Lumber Liquidators regarding formaldehyde in laminate flooring, Home Depot has confirmed that they will begin phasing out vinyl flooring that contains phthalates. Phthalates are used to make plastic and vinyl softer and more flexible, but have been linked to hormone disruptions and cancer. Because of the associated health risks, phthalates have been restricted by the Consumer Product Safety Commission to less than 0.1% of materials used to manufacture toys and other children’s products. As one of the most popular floor options available today, the new vinyl flooring will benefit many homeowners.
Tony Iallonardo, spokesman for Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families, stated that many parents are concerned about the levels of exposure due to vinyl flooring installations in their homes.
“When kids play on the floor, they are exposed just as much as if it’s in the toys,” he told CNN.
Health experts are especially concerned about the level of exposure to phthalates in children for several reasons. The first is that children spend more time on the floor and putting their hands in their mouths than adults do. The second is that children’s bodies and systems are still developing, so they are at higher risk for adverse effects.
While Home Depot has yet to release an official statement regarding the phthalate removal, spokesman Stephen Holmes confirmed the upcoming change.
“We think this is an alternative customers will appreciate,” he told CNN, adding that the new policy is expected to be completed by the end of the year.
Parents who are concerned about the toxicity of their flooring should look into installing other floor options in their homes. Linoleum floor installation is cost-effective and easy, while hardwood flooring keeps the classic look that many vinyl flooring owners want to achieve. Other popular floor options include tile flooring, carpeting, and cork.