Michelle via Flickr Creative Commons 
Michelle via Flickr Creative Commons 

Toxic phthalates in vinyl PVC flooring can pose great threats to human health, and the home improvement industry is recognizing that through new measures. Four leading retailers in the industry, Home Depot, Lowe's, Lumber Liquidators, and Menards have made the decision this year to weed out flooring products that contain toxic phthalates. Hopefully, this will set a precedent for the entire flooring industry to follow. 

Phthalates are a group of industrial chemicals that add flexibility and resilience to consumer and building products, particularly those made out of PVC or vinyl plastic, according to Ecology Center, an Ann Arbor, Mich.-based non-profit organization promoting environmental education. Traditional vinyl flooring, laden with Phthalates, can result in human exposure through direct contact and use, causing obesity, hormone disruption, and even infertility.

Movement of the four companies is an accomplishment for Mind the Store campaign (initiated by the Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families coalition), which has called on major retailers to tackle phthalates and other hazardous chemicals in the home improvement supply chain. Typically, over $10 billion of flooring products are sold annually.

Among the four companies, Home Depot was the first retailer that developed a public policy to eliminate phthalates in flooring. As of the first quarter of 2015, about 85% of the phase-out had been done within Home Depot.

Please head over to GreenBiz for more details about this project.