Washington: Large areas of vinyl flooring in daycares and schools seems to expose kids to a group of compounds called phthalates that have been linked to reproductive and developmental problems, according to scientists.
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.
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).
The study has been published in the ACS journal Environmental Science and Technology.