Question

Can you give me information on Naturcor vinyl sheet flooring?

Asked by Elaine Gaines
Blacksburg, VA

I have had cancer for 10 years and do not want any more carcinogens in my house. Is this a safe product?

Answer

Molly McCabe, AKBD, CGP, CAPS

Answered by Molly McCabe, AKBD, CGP, CAPS

Bainbridge Island, WA

A Kitchen That Works LLC

August 16, 2010

Dear Elaine,

Naturcor is a proprietary vinyl flooring product manufactured for Flooring America by IVC Group US which distributes a wide range of cushioned back sheet vinyl products in the US. I have made multiple attempts via phone and the internet to get product content information on Naturcor from both Flooring America and IVC Group US but with no success.

At this juncture, I would venture to guess that Naturcor is manufactured using a PVC (polyvinyl chloride) plastic. PVC vinyl contains a chlorine molecule (the chloride “C” in PVC and PVDC) that has been identified as the source of many environmental health concerns, including dioxin, a highly carcinogenic chemical produced in the manufacture, use and disposal of PVC products

(Please note that in the sustainable design/build industry, an analysis of the sourcing of raw materials, manufacturing, installation, use and disposal of a product or material is referred to as the Life Cycle Analysis. The goal of conducting a Life Cycle Analysis on a product/material is to select products/materials that have the lowest possible impact on the environment while still meeting code and design requirements of the project.)

Due to dioxin's persistent and bioaccumulative nature (it travels long distances without breaking down and concentrates as it moves up the food chain to humans) it has become a global problem and an international treaty – the Stockholm Convention on persistent organic pollutants (POPs) - now prioritizes the elimination of processes that produce dioxin.

PVC will “off-gas” inside a home furnished with PVC products such as vinyl flooring. This off-gassing affects the indoor air quality of the home as well as the health and safety of the occupants. Symptoms can include headaches, dizziness, nausea, memory loss, respiratory problems as well as different types of cancer due to dioxin exposure. You might consider watching the award winning documentary BLUE VINYL, which debuted at the 2002 Sundance Film Festival and is now available on DVD. The film chronicles efforts to understand the hazards of PVC as well reduce its use in the manufacturing of consumer goods.

There are other types of non chlorinated vinyl, such as PVA, PVB and EVA, which have lower potential toxicity effects but given the quantity and quality of non-toxic green flooring options available, I would strongly recommend you steer clear of any vinyl flooring products

Consider:

If you are looking to add some cushioning to your flooring, and thresholds are not an issue (transitions between rooms or the ability to open an exterior door) then you could consider using Marmoleum Click which is a tile/plank linoleum product which has a cork backing for some added ‘give’ or you can lay a cork “underlayment” under a variety of flooring products including bamboo and hardwoods. I would not recommend a cork underlayment under sheet linoleum or linoleum tile/plank as this would provide too much give under furniture legs and other items of concentrated weight.

When choosing flooring materials make sure the wear expectations and maintenance of the product suit your lifestyle. Once you have narrowed your search with these criteria do a Life Cycle Analysis of the product to ensure that you are choosing the safest (and best) product for you and the environment.

 

For more information:

Check our green flooring Q&A to see what other homeowners and contractors are saying about the pros and cons of vinyl flooring, bamboo, etc.

Read David Bergman's Q&A "We are considering buying vinyl flooring with Scotchgard by 3M. Is it safe?"

Tagged In: home air quality, pvc safety

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