In recent years, vinyl flooring has become a popular and inexpensive way for homeowners and landlords to give their floors a fresh look. The problem, though, is that your vinyl floors could be giving off harmful chemicals known as volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Here’s what you need to know about VOCs from vinyl flooring and how they could be affecting your indoor air quality.
What VOCs Can Vinyl Flooring Give Off?
VOCs are a fairly broad family of chemicals. When dealing with vinyl flooring, the main concerns are dioxins. These chemicals are not only harmful to human health but can also have disastrous environmental impacts. Dioxins have been associated with several forms of cancer, including but not limited to cancers of the larynx, esophagus and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
In addition to dioxins, vinyl flooring is also a known source of phthalate chemicals. Phthalates have been associated with respiratory conditions and may also cause hormone imbalances. Vinyl flooring is especially concerning where phthalates are concerned, since these chemicals are used to soften the vinyl, thus making it a better flooring material.
How Does Vinyl Flooring Produce These VOCs?
The VOCs given off by vinyl flooring are principally treatment chemicals used when the flooring is being manufactured. Over time, though, the flooring material can release these compounds into your home air. This is especially true as the material gets old and begins to break down. This gradual release of gaseous chemicals is part of a process known as offgassing.
Are VOCs from Vinyl Flooring Really a Health Hazard?
Because offgassing occurs at different rates under different conditions, it’s difficult to say how much of an effect vinyl flooring has on air quality in any given home. What is certain, though, is that the VOCs given off by synthetic flooring can be harmful in high enough doses.
It’s also worth noting that flooring materials are only one of many possible sources of harmful VOCs in modern houses. Wall materials, paint and even insulation also give off volatile organic compounds as they age. As a result, it’s a good idea to do everything possible to keep the level of VOCs in your home air under control.
If you want to get a good idea of what your indoor air quality looks like, you can use an indoor air quality meter like the Foobot. This simple, easy-to-use meter will give you readings on particles, humidity and even VOC levels, allowing you to see exactly how good or bad your air quality really is.
How to Limit VOCs in Your Home
If you’re getting ready to put new flooring in your home, you may want to choose a low-VOC vinyl alternative. In recent years, more homeowners have been paying attention to the effects VOCs could be having on their health. In response, healthier alternatives to many building materials, including flooring, have become more widely available.
To deal with the VOCs put off by existing materials in your home, consider using an air purifier with a carbon filter. Air purifiers for VOCs work by trapping harmful gases inside of carbon filters, then releasing the cleaned air back out into your home. The same system is also effective for dealing with household odors and other gases.
As you can see, dealing with VOCs from vinyl flooring is an easy way to make your home air a bit cleaner and healthier. Have questions about how air purifiers can improve your indoor air quality? We’re here to help! Feel free to contact us with your questions, and we’ll be happy to provide you with answers and product recommendations based on your needs.