Phthalate Plasticizer Free...
Or are They? (Download the PDF)
The formulation of vinyl flooring products has been increasingly scrutinized for many years. While there have been many industry wide improvements, very few companies take health issues as seriously as Traverse Flooring for the Traverse range of vinyl wood plank and tile.
Plasticizers are used in many types of flooring products to aid in the manufacturing process, and also provide flexibility to the finished product. This has many performance advantages during and after installation. Some phthalate plasticizers have come under fire (specifically ortho-phtlatlates) for health reasons and, while many have been gradually phased out over a long period, DINP was the most recent ortho-phthalate plasticizer to be added to California’s Proposition 65.
Proposition 65 is a list of chemicals which the State of California believes cause cancer, birth defects or reproductive harm. DINP is still widely used in the USA and can be found in products sold in California, although products containing DINP (as with all chemicals on Proposition 65) have to be labeled with a warning label if they are to be sold in the State.
Exposure to PHTHALATES
The more volatile phthalates are released into the air we breathe. Those with a higher molecular weight (lower volatility) can still result in exposure to humans due to abrasion by foot traffic and people breathing in, or otherwise consuming, dust particles. There are several long-term studies underway to more accurately determine the long-term health consequences of exposure.
Why Traverse is DIFFERENT
Traverse Flooring offers no opinion regarding the positives or negatives of ortho-phthalate plasticizers. Traverse, in response to trends in preferences of specifiers of and consumers of flooring, decided several years ago to phase out all phthalate plasticizers from the following collections: Boardwalk, Obelisk, Timeless Handscraped and Homewoods.
Therefore, all of the Traverse running line items currently marketed in North America are phthalate free and have been since early 2014 (one range in late 2012). This is achieved by a combination of not using post consumer recycled content and very close control over both the product formulation and manufacturing processes within our factories. Most manufacturers struggle with cross contamination between different products, or contamination from external recycled material sourcing. This is not a factor with Traverse.
There is one crucial piece of the contamination puzzle that Traverse overcame that will likely baffle most manufacturers for some time to come. It is proprietary information, but the test results below speak for themselves.