Healthiest Flooring – EcoBasics
Your flooring choices are fundamental to how healthy your home is. If your home is 2,000 square feet, then you have 2,000 square foot of flooring, too. A healthy floor will take you a long way towards a healthy home, whereas an unhealthy one will seep toxins into every nook and cranny.
Read through this simple chart to help you determine how healthy your floors are now, and how to improve, replace, or build new ones that are the healthiest for you and your family.
** Least Toxic/Best Choice for Those Sensitive to Chemicals
* Acceptable Choice
< Cause for Concern
X Avoid/Generally Most Toxic
Healthy Guidelines for Flooring
** Ceramic tile (mudset or Portland thinset without toxic additives; Portland cement grout without additives; and grout lines sealed with least toxic sealer)
** Wood (least toxic paints or sealants and no glues; kraft paper substituted for asphaltic paper under flooring)
* Natural linoleum (adhered with least toxic adhesive) (VOCs)
* Concrete (without additives) (VOCs)
< Vinyl composition tile (least toxic adhesive; good carpet substitute for schools) (plastics)
< Wall-to-wall carpet (100 percent untreated natural fibers) (VOCs)
X Wall-to-wall carpet (plastics, VOCs)
X Soft vinyl (plastics)
X Treated fibers
X Vinyl asbestos tile (platics)
X Laminated hardwood floors (VOCs)
An AFM sealant is available that helps reduce VOCs and pesticides outgassing from carpets, although it is not foolproof.
Replace rubber, urethane foam, or PVC carpet pads or backing with jute or recycled denim scrap pads.
If the carpet is tacked down rather than glued and is five years old or more, it has probably outgassed enough to be safe, although older carpets may have dust mites and mold.
Indoor-outdoor carpeting that has been treated with pesticides should be removed because of the pesticide used is long-lasting.
Ideally, all carpets should be replaced with inert floor materials.
Some laminated hardwood floors have high levels of formaldehyde. Look in your local Yellow Pages for laboratories that will test for formaldehyde.
–Adapted from Better Basics for the Home, by Annie B. Bond (aka Berthold-Bond), (Three Rivers Press, 1999).Healthiest Flooring – EcoBasics,