Groundbreaking Report Reveals Vinyl Flooring’s ‘Dirty Climate Secret’
Luxury vinyl tile (PVC flooring) is being marketed everywhere for both homes and commercial spaces. But despite its low cost and slick marketing, it harbors a dirty secret–manufacturing this flooring releases enormous quantities of carbon dioxide and other climate warming gasses into the air. Manufacturing it also relies on the use of highly-toxic substances: asbestos, mercury, and PFAS chemicals. CEH’s groundbreaking new report exposes the true health and climate costs of vinyl flooring.
WHY IT MATTERS
Conventional carpet and flooring products are often made with dozens of toxic chemicals that threaten our health and the environment. These chemicals have been linked to serious health issues, including asthma, cancer, diabetes, immune system disorders, and reproductive and developmental harm. Chemicals like VOCs have been found to impair cognition, weakening decision-making skills and diminishing productivity. In the US, an estimated 2 million tons of carpet is sent to landfills every year, where toxic chemicals can leach into the soil and groundwater.
What we’re doing
Many of the eco-labels and certifications commonly used in the US fail to address the broad range of health and sustainability concerns relevant to the complex and multiple components in carpets,flooring and their adhesives. To fill this gap, CEH helps make it easy for purchasers to select the safest carpet and resilient flooring products available in a variety of ways:
- We talk with manufacturers to communicate purchaser needs, and to clarify product information. We consult with an array of colleagues in the design field, and with purchasers who are currently using safer products, to help answer your questions.
- We help purchasers navigate the complex world of certifications and eco-labels through direct consultation.
- We communicate with and participate in eco-label and certification-setting agencies to strengthen their standards on toxic chemicals so purchasers can trust that the products are safe.
- We offer public and customized webinars and presentations, tools and resources, and consulting services.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
- Specify products with the Greenhealth Approved Seal, and/or copy and paste the content from our model technical specifications into your RFPs and contracts.
- Notify your suppliers and vendors that you’re interested in specifying these products, and get samples if you need them. The products that meet our criteria can also contribute to sustainable building certifications like LEED, WELL and Living Building Challenge.
- Consider testing new products in a small location, renovation, or new construction.
After your one-hour webinar this summer and the documents and records I shared with him, our facilities manager has turned 180 degrees and we revised our floor policy. He was nervous about the list of exclusions until he realized that you all had already identified products that meet the criteria. He’s gotten samples and likes a lot of them.
Woodland Coalition for Green Schools