Mission Tile West

Can Your Flooring Make You Sick? Not If You Choose Tile

With the right grout, tile floors present no risk of releasing harmful VOCs or phthalates.

Can Your Flooring Make You Sick? Not If You Choose TileEarlier this year, retailer Lumber Liquidators got some unwelcome press when 60 Minutes aired an investigation into some of their laminate flooring products. These products, which were sourced from China, released high levels of formaldehyde gas, a Volatile Organic Chemical (VOC) that can contaminate indoor air and cause discomfort or even illness in those who live or work in environments containing the flooring.

This scrutiny of the indoor air impacts of VOCs from laminate flooring quickly led to discussion of another major indoor air contaminant: phthalates. Phthalates are plasticizers routinely found in many products that require flexibility, including some types of vinyl flooring. Phthalates are believed to be carcinogenic and have been linked to many health issues such as liver cancer, reproductive issues, birth defects, premature birth, and behavioral issues in children.

Both phthalates and formaldehyde have been identified by the International Living Building Institute as chemicals that should not be included in healthy indoor environments. In fact the organization has placed them on their “Red List” of dangerous chemicals.

Although VOCs and phthalates may be found only in low concentrations in vinyl or laminate flooring products, this doesn’t necessarily make them safe to have in your home or business.

Why take the risk when you can simply choose a safer option, namely floor tile?

Tile offers many advantages as a flooring material. It is durable, versatile, low-maintenance, long-lasting, and of course beautiful.

Perhaps most importantly, it is also safe for your health. The LEED guide for green building automatically provides credit to tile floors, without any need for conducting indoor air quality testing. However, indoor air quality testing would be required to certify that the grout or adhesive used to install the tile is safe. Some grouts and adhesives may release VOCs, especially in immediately after installation. While this can be mitigated with proper ventilation, for absolute peace of mind regarding your indoor air quality and your health, it is best to simply pay a little extra for a product that is guaranteed not to contain phthalates or VOCs.

Need Help Choosing Floor Tile?

Many laminate and vinyl flooring materials are designed to mimic the look of tile anyway—so why not pay a little bit more now and get the real look of tile along with all the benefits of a tile floor? If you would like help picking out floor tile that will match your interior design, come to Mission Tile West. Our tile design experts will be happy to assist you.