Forward thinking on phthalates
Date : 15/05/2015
There has been a fair bit in the media recently about plasticizers, particularly ortho-phthalate plasticizers. ASPECTA’s Corey Carter explains how parent company Metroflor took the initiative early on with a precautionary approach, leading the way in terms of instilling the highest possible Health & Safety standards alongside excellence in terms of performance levels.
Plasticizers are used in vinyl flooring to provide flexibility, resilience, durability, longevity, strength, and that “sturdy cushion” feeling which makes our vinyl flooring easy on the feet. So they are pretty important!
Numerous reviews by U.S. and European authorities regarding ortho-phthalate plasticizers – and this is based on high dose animal studies – indicate that these plasticizers may pose a risk to humans in the form of potential reproductive, developmental toxicity and carcinogenic effects. To such an extent, in fact, that they are prohibited from use in childcare products and toys, which includes pacifiers and teething rings.
At Metroflor, we subscribe to the “Precautionary Principle” which embodies the concept of avoiding exposure to materials that may have a negative impact on human health and safety. Indeed, we have taken a responsible approach for many years and this is now extended across the entire ASPECTA range. We only use Dioctyl terephthalate (DOTP), which is classified as a non-phthalate plasticizer by its suppliers because it is not an ortho-phthalate.
DOTP is a well-studied plasticizer that has a “clean bill of health.” It does not exhibit the risk of ortho‑phthalates. Indeed, in contrast, a 2009 assessment of DOTP concluded that it can be safely used in products coming in to contact with children.
Our number one mission is providing high-performance, sustainable and safe products for use by our valued customers. Our use of the non-phthalate plasticizer DOTP is another step in fulfilling this commitment, based on product performance and informed scientific review of available information.
I am feeling good about the progress we have made and good about the rigor with which we are embedding responsible practices into our entire operation. But we have to keep pioneering. There is still a way to go! If you have any questions about phthalates, please feel free to email me at:
Corey Carter is Director of Sustainability for Metroflor/ASPECTA.