Certain materials which are used in floorings and other surfaces can contain toxic chemicals e.g. plastic materials.
Various studies have shown that toxic chemicals such as phthalates, phenol and 2-etylhexanol can be emitted from floorings into the air we breathe in our homes.
There are also studies that have linked the chemicals released from plastic surface coatings such as PVC with an increased risk of suffering from allergies or asthma.
Studies from Sweden, Denmark and North America, for example, have shown the link between phthalates in household dust and the aforementioned illnesses in children.
The studies referred to how the PVC floors of children´s bedrooms greatly influenced the results.
Plastics can also release substances such as flame retardants.
However, it is not only the materials used that can be harmful but also the adhesives and fillers used to fill the gaps between the tiles.
Very often, compounds such as epoxy resins (containing bisphenol A) and silicon, which emits toxic chemicals, are used.
The Factsheet 521 from the National Institute of Safety and Health at Work (NISHW) higlights some chemicals which can be emitted from vinyl floor tiles: formaldehyde, toluene, metylcyclohexane, heptane, isodecane, phenol, ketones, 2,2,4-trimetyl-1, 1,3-pentanedioldiisobutirate, asbestos fibres. Floor tile adhesives may contain: toluene, benzene, ethyl acetate, ethylbenzene or styrene.