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We're looking to install luxury vinyl flooring in our home and recently came across some claims that vinyl flooring significantly reduces air quality in the home and can release carcinogens in to the air as it is often manufactured with PVC along with other unsafe materials.

We still like the look and durability of luxury vinyl floors but have safety concerns for obvious reasons. Is there a way to filter out the non-eco-friendly / unsafe vinyl from the safe by looking at product specifications or choosing a specific brand? Have the safety of vinyl floors improved with time to the point these concerns are no longer warranted?

Or is all vinyl flooring unsafe by its very nature and should we stick to laminate if we're concerned about air quality and our safety?

Thanks in advance

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Most building materials will off-gas for for various reasons: 1) what their made of, 2) what they use to “glue” material in place, 3) warring of surface material. A better explanation is here:

https://www.greenbuildingsupply.com/Learning-Center/Flooring-LC/Why-we-dont-sell-luxury-vinyl-tile

What this article omits is the adhesive used to secure the material to the floor.

Even “low VOC” material has a significant amount of material that will “off-gas”.

Government buildings now require the completed building to “run” the heating and air conditioning systems without anyone in the building for 14 days. We usually don’t do this for residential construction because there are larger quantities in governmental buildings.

Everyone has a different tolerance towards these materials. Not much can affect me, but my son would cough and gag after a few minutes when we stayed in a hotel on vacation that recently renovated their rooms. Your tolerance may be just as weak.

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Is PVC Safe? The Vinyl Debate – www.motherearthnews.com

The production of PVC is bad for the environment and factory workers.

Sure, I'll go with that.

Dioxin is a super-toxic chemical released when plastic that contains chlorine is burned.

Ok.

Dioxin can only be released from PVC when it is burned at low or extremely high temperatures.

Yep.

PVC disposal is unsafe.

Probably, but that's not the question.

Should I be concerned about using PVC in my home?

Definitely, if it's on fire.

We recently posted a poll on our website asking you, “Do you try to avoid using vinyl in your home?” Forty-two percent of responders answered, “Yes, whenever I can,” while 40 percent of responders answered, “No – what’s wrong with vinyl?”

I also avoid installing vinyl if I can, because it sucks compared to stone tile. However, certain types of vinyl have antimicrobial properties which is why they're used in the healthcare industry. AFAIK, no other flooring material can claim that.

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Check the product sheet, or the Material Safety Data Sheet for the luxury vinyl flooring. If you see Poly-Vinyl Chloride or PVC mentioned, that flooring contains PVC. It's not a contaminant, it is part of the flooring.

Composite flooring is not a sure thing either. It has several layers, each made with a wizard's brew of binders, fillers and adhesives, plus a plastic skin on top and bottom. Vinyl is at least made of one thing.

Consider natural materials, and nails/screws instead of glues.

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