Flooring Installation Hazard Spectrum
- When feasible, avoid using an adhesive altogether or prefer a peel and stick option. Several chemicals commonly found in adhesive formulations are hazardous, and the specific chemicals used are not often disclosed. The best option is to avoid using adhesives when possible or to use one that does not react on site, like a peel and stick adhesive.
- Avoid epoxy and polyurethane adhesives. These adhesives are based on inherently hazardous chemicals including endocrine-disrupting bisphenol A (BPA) and asthmagenic isocyanates.
- If using a wet-applied adhesive, prefer those with both low VOC content and emissions. South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) Rule 1168 requires most indoor flooring adhesives to have ≤ 50 grams per liter of VOCs. In many cases, products with even lower levels of VOC content are available. For VOC emissions, look for products that meet the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) Standard Method for Testing and Evaluation of VOC Emissions. Considering both VOC content and VOC emissions can help reduce potentially hazardous exposures for occupants and residents, but keep in mind that these standards only capture a handful of hazardous chemicals. Use the rules of thumb and the hazard spectrum below to help avoid other chemicals of concern.
Mechanical fasteners, such as nails or staples, do not typically contain chemicals of concern. Purchase products that can be installed mechanically, such as wood flooring that is nailed in place.
 Unless otherwise noted, product content and health hazard information is based on research done by Healthy Building Network for Common Product profiles, reports, and blogs. Links to the appropriate resources are provided.
 Tarkett. “Can Linoleum Be Recycled?” Accessed August 14, 2019. https://professionals.tarkett.com/en_EU/node/can-linoleum-be-recycled-3466.; Beth Miller. “CARE Report: Carpet Reclamation Is a Challenge, but Recycle Rates Are Expected to Climb - June 2018.” Accessed August 14, 2019. https://www.floordaily.net/floorfocus/care-report-carpet-reclamation-is-a-challenge-but-recycle-rates-are-expected-to-climb-june-2018.
 SCAQMD Rule 1168 (used in many green building standards) requires most indoor flooring adhesives to have ≤ 50 grams per liter of VOCs. Products with ≤ 25 g/L VOC typically qualify as "super-compliant" within the SCAQMD rule.
 Hoff, Susanne Marie, and Leo Ternorutsky. Plasticizer resistant emulsion acrylic pressure sensitive adhesive. US6066394A, issued May 23, 2000. https://patents.google.com/patent/US6066394.;; 3M Industrial Assembly & Design. 3MTM Pressure Sensitive Adhesives Overview. Accessed July 8, 2019. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eXysfAhYdOQ.
 Hoff, Susanne Marie, and Leo Ternorutsky. Plasticizer resistant emulsion acrylic pressure sensitive adhesive. US6066394A, issued May 23, 2000. https://patents.google.com/patent/US6066394.; “ABEX EP 120 Product Data Sheet.” Rhodia, March 2010. https://www.pharosproject.net/sources/viewFile/31596.
 The APE chemical group includes nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPEs) and octylphenol ethoxylates (OPEs). Nonylphenol ethoxylates and their degradation products, nonylphenols, are on the EU Candidate List of Substances of Very High Concern due to endocrine-disrupting properties. https://echa.europa.eu/candidate-list-table. Nonylphenol ethoxylates and octylphenol ethoxylates and their degradation products, nonylphenols and octylphenols, are on the ChemSec SIN List for endocrine disruption (https://sinlist.chemsec.org/) and on The Endocrine Disruption Exchange for potential endocrine disruption (https://endocrinedisruption.org/interactive-tools/tedx-list-of-potential-endocrine-disruptors/search-the-tedx-list).
 “Marmoleum Click Cinch LOC.” Forbo Flooring Systems, 2017. https://forbo.blob.core.windows.net/forbodocuments/36550/Click_2017_Brochure_web.pdf.
 Forbo Flooring Systems. “Corkment Declare Label.” International Living Future Institute. Accessed June 10, 2019. https://living-future.org/declare-products/corkment/.; Gum rosin is a respiratory sensitizer per Japan GHS and Collaborative on Health and the Environment.
 Chen, Hao A., John M. Whispell, and Ji-Min Wan. Floor covering with interlocking design. US8006460B2, issued August 30, 2011. https://patents.google.com/patent/US8006460B2/.; Tucker, Reginald. “Inhaus Looks to Break New Ground with Sono Launch.” Floor Covering News, January 9, 2017. https://fcnews.net/2017/01/inhaus-looks-to-break-new-ground-with-sono-launch/.; “Good to Know.” wineo. Accessed October 4, 2019. https://en.wineo.de/products/purline-organic-flooring/knowledgebase/.
 “Wood-Plastic Composites - an Overview | ScienceDirect Topics.” Accessed July 8, 2019. https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/materials-science/wood-plastic-composites.; “Rigid Core Vinyl Flooring: SPC vs. WPC.” Parterre Flooring Systems, July 30, 2018. https://parterreflooring.com/spc-wpc-commercial-flooring/.; “Frequently Asked Questions.” NovaFloor Luxury Vinyl Tile (blog). Accessed July 8, 2019. https://novafloor.us/frequently-asked-questions/.; Chen, Hao A., John M. Whispell, and Ji-Min Wan. Floor covering with interlocking design. US8006460B2, issued August 30, 2011. https://patents.google.com/patent/US8006460B2/.
 Nutrition, Center for Food Safety and Applied. “Bisphenol A (BPA): Use in Food Contact Application.” FDA, April 26, 2019. http://www.fda.gov/food/food-additives-petitions/bisphenol-bpa-use-food-contact-application.
 “Risk Management for Nonylphenol and Nonylphenol Ethoxylates | Assessing and Managing Chemicals under TSCA | US EPA.” Accessed June 25, 2019. https://www.epa.gov/assessing-and-managing-chemicals-under-tsca/risk-management-nonylphenol-and-nonylphenol-ethoxylates.
 Lott, Sarah, and Jim Vallette. “Full Disclosure Required: A Strategy to Prevent Asthma Through Building Product Selection,” December 2013. http://healthybuilding.net/uploads/files/full-disclosure-required-a-strategy-to-prevent-asthma-through-building-product-selection.pdf.
Last updated: October 10, 2019