Vinyl flooring, made from PVC or Poly Vinyl Chloride, is one material that we believe should not be on the market. PVC is dangerous to human health and the environment throughout its entire life cycle, at the factory, in our homes, and when we throw it out.
During the manufacture of PVC, dioxins are a by-product due vinyl having a high chlorine content. There are also documented links between workers exposed to the manufacture of PVC and cancer.
Whilst installed in your home, PVC will off gass dangerous chemicals. That new vinyl floor smell, that's them. Also, in order to make PVC flexible, a chemical called phthalates is added. Phthalates are a suspected carcinogen and reproductive toxicant. Think about that next time your baby or young children are down playing on a vinyl floor.
And finally, recycling PVC has generally been a failure. Compared to other plastic type products, PVC contains far more chemicals and is therefore harder and more expensive to recycle. When inadvertently mixed with other easily recyclable plastics, whole batch lots of recyclable materials are rendered unrecyclable. When dumped into landfill, PVC leaches chemicals into the environment. And when burnt, as it is often for energy, it releases dioxins again.
The good news is that there are much safer, healthier and more environmentally friendly products on the market. Think about using Linoleum, cork, sustainable timber, stone or tiles and even natural rubber.