Product Review

Vinyl Flooring: Is Less Bad Any Good?

July 30, 2012

A huge issue with most vinyl flooring is the use of petroleum-based phthalate plasticizers. Commonly used phthalates are endocrine disruptors and reproductive and developmental toxicants. Emerging evidence also links phthalates to respiratory problems, such as asthma. Earlier this year, Tarkett (the international parent of Johnsonite) announced that phthalates will be removed from all of Johnsonite’s vinyl flooring (see “Phthalate-Free Vinyl Flooring One Step Closer to Mainstream,”

EBN March 2012). In most of the iQ lines, the phthalate plasticizers have been replaced by a synthetic stand-in, but in iQ Natural the replacement is a plant-based plasticizer formulated by Tarkett from castor oil. As a result, 15% of iQ Natural is biobased content. Although stepping away from petroleum-based products is a good move, biobased products are not a panacea, and they come with their own issues (see “Biobased Materials: Not Always Greener,”