Bill Walsh | May 21, 2009
In a new report released this week, HBN staffers Tom Lent, Julie Silas and Jim Vallette evaluate the most commonly specified resilient flooring options available in the health care marketplace: vinyl, synthetic rubber, polyolefin (Stratica) and linoleum.
The study, Resilient Flooring & Chemical Hazards: A Comparative Analysis of Vinyl and Other Alternatives for Health Care, concludes that while none of the materials is hazard free, the product types vary considerably in two significant ways. There are important differences among the materials reviewed in the amount, extent and exposure to the most harmful chemicals throughout the product's life cycle. There are also distinct differences between the materials reviewed here with regard to the potential for manufacturers to further reduce the hazards. Linoleum was highly preferable as the only bio-based product and had strong prospects for minimizing its already lower chemical hazard. Among the purely petrochemical-based products, polyolefin was the most preferable material.
The report is the first to apply the Pharos Framework created for the Pharos on-line materials evaluation system currently under development by HBN. It also integrates real-world case studies from leading health care institutions as they evaluated various options in specifying resilient flooring for their facilities. The result is an unsurpassed level of transparency and utility that will help buyers distinguish among green-labeled and certified products, and increase the market demand for healthier building materials in the health care environment.
Released at this week’s CleanMed conference in Chicago, Resilient Flooring & Chemical Hazards is the first in a series of papers from the Research Collaborative initiated by Health Care Without Harm with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.