Are there PVC floors free of harmful substances?
To answer this frequently asked question in a meaningful way, it is necessary to preface something about the designation PVC: Every PVC floor is a vinyl floor. But not every vinyl floor is a PVC floor. Confusing? That's because any PVC product can also call itself a vinyl product. This is because PVC (polyvinyl chloride) contains vinyl. However, instead of vinyl flooring, people often talk about design flooring. Confusion complete? A rogue, who thinks evil thereby. The fact is that these designations cleverly avoid the term PVC, which is rightly the subject of discussion.
How do I find out what is in PVC flooring?
Manufacturers of PVC and vinyl flooring are not required to label the ingredients in their products. But there are ways to find out more about them:
- Consumers have a right to information on request. Retailers only have to name components that are on the list of substances of concern. These include harmful plasticizers from the phthalates group: DINP, DEHP, DBD and BBP.
- There are independent labels that certify health safety with regard to the ingredients. These include the "Blue Angel", the eco-INSTITUT label and that of natureplus e. V. They are also recommended by consumer advice centers.
Can a PVC floor be free of harmful substances?
Even if we disregard pollutants, which only come into play during manufacture or disposal, this is not possible at present. Floor coverings made of PVC must be elastic - regardless of whether they are cut from a roll, as a plank or as a tile, and in what thickness. To achieve this, plasticizers are added to the PVC, essentially phthalates. The biggest problem is that these phthalates escape from PVC flooring from the outset and more and more over time, in gaseous or liquid form - aided also by direct contact with skin, sweat or saliva.
For decades, numerous studies have documented the dangers posed by these plasticizers, especially in the form of a greatly increased risk of cancer. To cite just one example: A study published in 2022 by the Cancer Center at the University of Vermont describes, among other things, a twofold increased risk of lymph node cancer such as Hodgkin's or non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in children, as well as a threefold increased risk of bone cancer.
Environmentally compatible alternatives to phthalates
Research into biological plastics and biological plasticizers is in full swing.
Plasticizers such as the most commonly used phthalates are produced on the basis of petroleum. For some years, however, research has also been conducted into plasticizers based, for example, on sugar, wood or waste streams from food production such as bran. This development has prospects in several respects. It stands for renewable raw materials, plasticizers that are harmless to health, and complete recycling without loss of quality.
With CERAMIN® we are treading yet another path. Our material is not only free of chlorine and PVC, but can also do without added plasticizers altogether. There are other additives to optimize the properties of CERAMIN®. However, these are completely harmless to health and the environment. This is also reflected in the fact that the substrate material is 100 percent recyclable. And last but not least, we source all raw materials from Europe, if not directly from Germany. This eliminates any risk of delivery problems and availability.
Those who do not want to wait that long, however, already have many options to choose from pollutant-free and ecological floor coverings, whose market maturity will also make a purchase sensible in the coming years. These include: cork, real wood parquet, linoleum, tiles and real wood panels.