Alternatives to Vinyl Flooring
There are many ways to mitigate or avoid the dangerous chemicals that vinyl flooring emits in your home. I feel that everyone should be concerned about mitigation, but especially pregnant women and children. The best option is to not use vinyl flooring at all! There are much healthier alternatives. However, I understand that in many cases it may be unavoidable to remove vinyl flooring if it is already in your home. In these cases, you have options as well!
The most affordable option, if you already have vinyl flooring in your home is an air purification system! Air purification systems that are effective against the phthalates and volatile organic compounds (VOC) that are emitted from vinyl flooring must have two components: A HEPA filter to remove particulate matter from the air and active carbon and zeolite to remove the VOC’s. The HEPA filter removes 99.97% of air particulates. VOCs are so small that they pass through this filter though. They must be chemically adsorbed (bonded) to the active carbon and zeolites. The carbon and zeolites “fill up” with these bonded chemicals eventually and the filter must be replaced. One pound of carbon has roughly 125 acres of surface area for chemicals to bond to.
Even though they are much cheaper than replacing your flooring, air purification systems can be very expensive as well. When purchasing a system, you must not only consider the purchase price, but the maintenance price also. Over the course of five years, the price of filters for most units can be more than the purification unit itself. The most affordable, highest performance option is Austin Air Purifier HealthMate. It is independently certified by the American Home Appliance Manufacturers. This certification looks at the energy and performance of the appliance and is used for Energy Star certification testing. This certification also requires regular random spot inspections of the products to ensure they continue to meet the standards. This product is also certified to not off gas any of the chemicals used in its filtration system. This product contains 60 ft. of HEPA filters and 15 pounds of active carbon and zeolite.
You can purchase this product at the following link:
Austin Air Purifiers | UsAirPurifiers.com
Austin Air Purifiers combine proven filter technology and air quality protection for a wide range of airborne…
Five-year filter cost: less than $250
If you do have the ability to replace your flooring, the most affordable, highest quality new flooring is linoleum. It is made of linseed oil, pine resin, wood flour, cork flour, limestone and pigments pressed together onto a jute backing. It is even more durable than vinyl flooring and can last for up to 40 years with proper upkeep. Linoleum flooring earns points in many categories towards LEED certification (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design). Linoleum is listed by LEED as a rapidly renewal resource and depending on the materials you buy, can meet LEED standards for low-emitting VOCs and recycled content. LEED bases these rating on Floorscore certification, the leading indoor air quality certification for hard-surface flooring.
The best type of linoleum is Farbo Marmoleum. It is SMART certified for sustainability, an independent agency that assesses the products impact on the environment. It is also Asthma and Allergy Friendly certified, an independent testing program created by the top medical experts and the largest non-profit asthma and allergy patient advocacy organization. It has 100% all natural materials, 78% recycled materials, and is non-toxic.
You can purchase this product at the following link:
Forbo Marmoleum Real - Natural Linoleum, Non-Toxic, Durable, 2.5mm sheet - Green Building Supply
Forbo Marmoleum Real Collection of sheet goods, a variety of unique, marbled shades, each composed of two to five…
Price: $3 per foot
The best flooring option regardless of price is hardwood. The best hardwood is USFloors Castle Combe Sustainable Hardwood Floors. This floor has zero VOC emission. This flooring uses natural oils to finish the wood instead of chemical sealants or finishes. It is also Forest Stewardship Council Certified, which means that the wood was harvested in a sustainable way.
The product itself is Greenguard gold certified, which means that it passes California section 01350 code for VOC and overall chemical emission and is safe for use in schools and hospitals.
It also meets LEED standards for Indoor Environmental Quality and Low-Emitting Materials. This product is also CARB2 (California Air Resources Board Phase II) compliant, which is the strictest air quality standard because it caps formaldehyde emissions rather than using an average.
You can purchase this product at this link:
USFloors, Castle Combe, West End, Hardwood Flooring
USFloors Hardwood Flooring Castle Combe West End, upscale collection, wide plank hardwood flooring, featuring thick…
Price: $247.69 per 31 sq. ft. or $7.99 per plank
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Forest Stewardship Council. (n.d.). Certification. Retrieved from https://us.fsc.org/en-us/certification
Moloney, C. (2017, March 29). Linoleum Flooring, Marmoleum or Vinyl: A LEED Comparison. Retrieved from https://www.green-buildings.com/articles/linoleum-marmoleum-vinyl-comparison/
(n.d.). Retrieved from http://mts.sustainableproducts.com/SMaRT_Certified.html
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User, S. (n.d.). Asthma and Allergy Friendly Certification Program. Retrieved from https://asthmaandallergyfriendly.com/USA/
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What Is CARB Phase 2? Why Is It Important? (2016, June 10). Retrieved from http://www.gohaus.com/the-beat/flooring/what-is-carb-phase-2-why-is-it-important/