07 February 2013

PVC flooring products laden with harmful chemicals - EcoWaste Coalition

Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) or plastic vinyl flooring materials mistakenly referred to as “linoleum” by most Pinoys were found loaded with heavy metals that are linked to irreversible brain damage and other health disorders.

The EcoWaste Coalition’s Task Forces on Chemical Safety and Plastics made the revelation after analyzing 20 PVC flooring samples using a handheld X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) spectrometer, a device that is capable of screening materials for heavy metals.

The samples were procured by the group from general merchandise stores located near or within public markets in Guadalupe Nuevo, Makati City; Paco, Manila City, Libertad, Pasay City; Novaliches, Quezon City; and in the town of Pateros.

Sold in a variety of colors, designs and thickness from P65 to 165 per meter or yard, PVC flooring as a home improvement product (HIP) has gained domestic popularity because it is attractive, affordable, durable, waterproof and convenient to install and maintain.

“Consumers are clueless to the many synthetic chemical additives on plastic vinyl flooring materials that pose danger to children’s health, especially to babies and toddlers who spend a lot of time indoors often playing or sleeping on the floor,” said Sonia Mendoza, Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition’s Task Force on Plastics.

All the 20 samples had considerable levels of lead, a potent neurotoxin that can bring about permanent brain damage, and other chemicals of concern such as antimony, arsenic, cadmium and chromium that have been linked to birth and reproductive disorders, learning disabilities, liver damage, asthma and cancer.

“We urge the government to build on our initial findings, conduct further studies of chemicals in vinyl flooring and come up with a regulation on the most common HIPs that will protect the health of children, pregnant women and other vulnerable groups. Making HIPs and other consumer products free of toxics will make them safer to use, repair or even recycle at the end of their useful life," said Thony Dizon, Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition’s Project Protect.

Highlights of the findings include:

1. The 20 PVC flooring samples had detectable levels of lead ranging from 95 parts per million (ppm) to 4,462 ppm.

2. Out of the 20 samples, 14 had detectable levels of antimony (the highest being 2,508ppm), 5had arsenic (highest: 100 ppm), 6 had cadmium (highest: 170 ppm) and 7had chromium (highest: 1,517 ppm).

3. 19 of the samples had more than one toxic metal above levels of concern, which increases the potential of toxic harm due to multiple exposures.

4. None of the 20 samples were labeled with information about their chemical or material content to warn consumers.

The expanded sampling of PVC flooring and other HIPs should cover heavy metals, organotin stabilizers, brominated flame retardant chemicals and phthalate plasticizers that are commonly used in the manufacture of such products.


The group expressed concern that a 2010 study by the Michigan-based Ecology Center showed flooring samples contained numerous phthalates up to 12.9% by weight, including phthalates that are already banned in children’s products in US and EU.


Studies have shown the linkages between phthalates and wheezing among preschool children, phthalates and the disruption of endocrine functions, phthalates and their adverse impacts on the reproductive system, kidneys, liver and blood. Researches have also illustrated that phthalates indirectly cause autism.


The EcoWaste Coalition is a national network of more than 150 public interest groups pursuing sustainable and just solutions to waste, climate change and chemical issues towards the envisioned Zero Waste 2020 goal.
-end-

Reference:

1 comment:

Vinayak Bhatt said...

Wow....
Thanks for posting this. Insightful and inspiring.
This article will provide you with some very effective river fishing tips about pvc flooring .
For more info visit : -
pvc flooring