Greenpeace issues "toxic flooring" alert

NGO finds "surprisingly high levels" of hazardous chemicals in carpets, vinyl flooring

Carpets and vinyl (PVC) flooring on sale in the UK contain "surprisingly high" levels of a range of toxic and persistent chemicals, the British branch of Greenpeace said today. The group described its findings as "of concern" and called on consumers to ask manufacturers what chemicals they use. Co-sponsor of the report the Healthy Flooring Network went further, suggesting that consumers should "avoid buying vinyl flooring and fitted carpets".

The findings are based on laboratory tests on 13 brands of carpet or vinyl flooring currently retailed in Britain, coordinated by Greenpeace's research arm at the University of Exeter. The group claims that its study is one of the first in Europe to quantify levels of toxic chemicals in flooring products.

Key findings, Greenpeace says, are significant presence in vinyl flooring of organotin compounds DBT and TBT and phthalates BBP and DNIP. For carpets, laboratory tests found the insecticide permethrin and the brominated flame retardant BDE-209, as well as organotins. The fact that both carpets and vinyl flooring were found to contain TBT was particularly surprising, Greenpeace stressed.

Follow Up:
Greenpeace UK, tel: +44 20 78 65 81 00, and press release; Healthy Flooring Network, tel: +44 1759 36 82 86.

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