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Vinyl flooring linked to potentially harmful substances at schools and daycare centers

Date:
October 23, 2013
Source:
American Chemical Society
Summary:
Large areas of vinyl flooring in daycares and schools appear to expose children to a group of compounds called phthalates, which have been linked to reproductive and developmental problems, scientists are reporting.
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Large areas of vinyl flooring in daycares and schools appear to expose children to a group of compounds called phthalates.
Credit: © Tyler Olson / Fotolia

Large areas of vinyl flooring in daycares and schools appear to expose children to a group of compounds called phthalates, which have been linked to reproductive and developmental problems, scientists are reporting. They published their results on the ubiquitous plastic ingredients in the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology.

Chungsik Yoon and colleagues note that polyvinyl chloride (PVC), also known as vinyl, is the second most-produced plastic by volume and is commonly used in flooring. Phthalates, which increase both the flexibility and durability of PVC, are key ingredients in PVC materials used in vinyl flooring and a wide range of other products, including toys, food packaging, medical devices, and even

pharmaceuticals, cosmetics and soaps. The problem is that these additives leach out of products into the air and dust. Concern over their potential health effects, particularly in infants and children, has spurred scientists to investigate human exposure to them indoors. However, most studies fall short of verifying what products were contributing to indoor phthalate levels. Yoon's team set out to fill that gap.

Using a portable instrument called an X-ray fluorescence (XRF) analyzer, they tested the flooring materials in 50 public and private daycares and kindergartens in Seoul, South Korea, to test for PVC. They also collected dust samples from various surfaces in the buildings and analyzed them. The PVC-verified flooring was a major source of the most common phthalate that they detected, called di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (known as DEHP). "This is the first study to verify the sources of phthalates with an XRF analyzer and to evaluate the relationship between phthalate concentrations and PVC-verified materials," the scientists state.

The authors acknowledge funding from the Seoul Medical Center Research Institute.


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The above post is reprinted from materials provided by American Chemical Society. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Won Kim, Inja Choi, Yeonhee Jung, Jihye Lee, Sungjae Min, Chungsik Yoon. Phthalate Levels in Nursery Schools and Related Factors. Environmental Science & Technology, 2013; 131015123535008 DOI: 10.1021/es4025996

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American Chemical Society. "Vinyl flooring linked to potentially harmful substances at schools and daycare centers." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 October 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131023112638.htm>.
American Chemical Society. (2013, October 23). Vinyl flooring linked to potentially harmful substances at schools and daycare centers. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 30, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131023112638.htm
American Chemical Society. "Vinyl flooring linked to potentially harmful substances at schools and daycare centers." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131023112638.htm (accessed August 30, 2015).

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