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Vinyl Flooring Safety Questions Answered Through Testing

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Posted at 5:15 PM, Jul 17, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-07 05:51:02-04

(CONSUMER REPORTS) - Vinyl flooring has been known to be long lasting, and it’s among the least expensive flooring you can buy.

But there have been safety concerns about chemicals called phthalates sometimes added to vinyl flooring to make it pliable. Some phthalates may be endocrine disruptors, which will affect the hormonal systems of the body. That’s especially a problem in unborn babies and young children because their bodies are still developing.

Consumer Reports ran lab tests on 17 vinyl-flooring products, testing for 13 types of phthalates. In addition to checking the composition of the flooring itself, the lab tested to see whether phthalates could be wiped off the vinyl flooring onto your hands or get into the air. Consumer Reports found that while there may be considerable amounts of phthalates in the compositions of the materials, the tests showed that very little came out into the air or onto wipes run across the flooring.

Even though the phthalate levels were very low, Consumer Reports has recommended wet-mopping vinyl floors often if you have young children in the house and washing their hands after they’ve crawled on the floor. Home Depot and Lowe’s have announced that all flooring they sell will be phthalate-free by 2016.

Consumer Reports said vinyl flooring has a lot to recommend it. Besides being inexpensive, the best aced Consumer Reports’ durability tests. Those tests see how well the flooring stood up to foot traffic, scratches, and dents, and how well it resists stains and whether it will fade in sunlight.

Consumer Reports recommends these vinyl-flooring products:

  • Tarkett NAFCO PermaStone Collection—Natural Slate-Sand Stone NS-660,
  • Congoleum DuraCeramic Sierra Slate SI-74 Golden Greige,
  • Armstrong Luxe Plank Timber Bay Barnyard Gray A6861,
  • Armstrong Alterna Mesa Stone Canyon Sun D4112
  • Shaw Matrix Regency Gunstock Oak LX90100706.

Here’s Consumer Reports’ guide to other types of flooring.

Complete Ratings and recommendations on all kinds of products, including appliances, cars & trucks, and electronic gear, are available on Consumer Reports’ website. Subscribe to ConsumerReports.org