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Old 05-18-2015, 05:28 PM   #1
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Thoughts on floor coverings

Looking for some advice. We are researching floor coverings and plan to full time in our bus. We where planning on using linoleum until we read about formaldehyde content. I talked with the flooring people at lowes and they said most of there flooring contains small amounts. Really not interested in building a gas chamber to house my family in. Anybody find a good cheap alternative? We looked into cork but really want vinyl planks or linoleum that is safe.
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Old 05-18-2015, 05:57 PM   #2
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There are toxins in lots of materials.
Potential Chemicals Found in Building Materials

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Asbestos
Asbestos fibers are strong, heat resistant, chemical resistant, and useful in providing heat insulation. Therefore, their most common uses include floor and ceiling tiles, plasters, insulations, adhesives, wallboard, roofing materials, fireproofing materials, and cement products. Asbestos is a known carcinogen, and inhalation of asbestos fibers is known to cause respiratory problems and lung diseases such as Asbestosis, Mesothelioma, or Lung cancer. All three of these diseases experience delayed development and the diseases may not manifest for 10-40 years after the initial asbestos exposure.

Asbestos that is intact, undisturbed, and in overall good condition does not necessarily pose a problem to human health. Deterioration and damage releases fibers into the air. A professional is needed to remove or repair asbestos-containing materials that are damaged or will be disturbed during a home improvement project.
Chromated copper arsenic (CCA) in pressure treated wood
Chromated copper arsenate (CCA) is a pesticide/preservative used to prevent rotting in lumber designed for outdoor use. CCA contains arsenic, chromium, and copper and was widely used for residential purposes in the United States from the 1970s until EPA phased it out in 2003. CCA-treated wood can be found virtually anywhere outdoor lumber is being utilized, such as play sets, decks, and picnic tables.

CCA-treated wood can be hazardous to human health because arsenic is a known carcinogen. Exposure to arsenic can cause cancer of the lung, bladder, skin, kidney, prostate, and nasal passage. Arsenic exposure can also lead to nerve damage, dizziness, and numbness. Arsenic can leach to the surface of the treated wood, becoming accessible for absorption through exposed hands and skin touching the wood surface and, especially in the case of children, ingestion through normal hand-to-mouth behavior. Arsenic can also leach into the ground surrounding the location of the treated wood.
Formaldehyde
Formaldehyde is used widely to manufacture building materials and numerous household products. It is also a by-product of combustion and certain other natural processes. Thus, it may be present in substantial concentrations both indoors and outdoors. In homes, the most significant sources of formaldehyde are likely to be pressed wood products made using adhesives that contain urea-formaldehyde (UF) resins. Pressed wood products made for indoor use include particleboard, hardwood plywood paneling, and medium density fiberboard, which contains a higher resin-to-wood ratio than any other UF pressed wood product and is generally recognized as being the highest formaldehyde-emitting pressed wood product.

Formaldehyde is also used to add permanent-press qualities to clothing and draperies, as a component of glues and adhesives, and as a preservative in some paints and coating products. Formaldehyde, a colorless, pungent-smelling gas, is a known respiratory irritant and carcinogen. It can cause watery eyes, burning sensations in the eyes and throat, nausea, and difficulty in breathing in some humans exposed at elevated levels (above 0.1 parts per million).
Perfluorinated compounds, including PFOA
Perfluorinated compounds (PFCs) are a family of fluorine-containing chemicals with unique properties to make materials stain and stick resistant. PFCs are used in wide array of consumer products and food packaging, such as microwave popcorn bags, pizza boxes, and cleaning and personal-care products like shampoo, dental floss, and denture cleaners. Even Gore-Tex clothing contains PFCs. Although these chemicals have been used since the 1950s in countless products, they’ve been subjected to little government testing.

There are many forms of PFCs, but the two most notorious are:
PFOA or perfluorooctanoic acid, used to make Teflon products. PFOA is broadly toxic. It does not break down in the environment and has a half-life in the body of more than four years. PFOA is a likely human carcinogen; it causes liver, pancreatic, testicular, and mammary gland tumors in laboratory animals.
PFOS or perfluorooctane sulfonate, a breakdown product of chemicals, was used until 2002 in the manufacture of 3M's Scotchgard treatment, used on carpet, furniture, and clothing. PFOS causes liver and thryoid cancer in rats. PFOS’s half-life is estimated at more than 8 years.
Phthalates
Phthalates, called “plasticizers,” are a group of industrial chemicals used to make plastics like polyvinyl chloride (PVC) more flexible or resilient. Building materials are the largest end use for PVC. Major uses of flexible PVC in buildings include carpet backing, resilient flooring, wall coverings, acoustical ceiling surfaces, upholstery textiles, roof membranes, waterproofing membranes, and electrical cord insulation. Phthalates are nearly ubiquitous in modern society, and can also be found in toys, food packaging, hoses, raincoats, shower curtains, vinyl flooring, adhesives, detergents, hair spray, and shampoo. Certain phthalates are known or suspected endocrine disruptors, meaning they impact and alter the human hormone system. Phthalates are also suspected to be potent reproductive toxins, especially in boys.
Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs)
PBDEs are used as flame retardants in plastic building materials and are particularly widespread in polyurethane foam products (insulation and cushions). In May, 2010, the EPA released an exposure assessment for PBDEs, providing information on the extent to which humans are exposed to and have a body burden of the chemicals. Key routes of human exposure are thought to be from their use in household consumer products, and their presence in house dust, and not from dietary routes. PBDEs have been associated in animal studies with liver toxicity, thyroid toxicity, developmental and reproductive toxicity, and developmental neurotoxicity.
Short-chain chlorinated paraffins (SCCPs)
SCCPs' primary use is as a lubricant and coolant in metal cutting and metal forming operations – so they may be present in the life-cycle of metal building products. The second most significant use is as a secondary plasticizer in PVC in many of the same applications as the phthalate plasticizers listed above. To a lesser extent it is also used in other plastics, including acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene resins (ABS), unsaturated polyester resins, polyethylene, polypropylene, and urethane foam for rubbers, paints, adhesives, caulks, and sealants as either plasticizers or flame retardants.

Although no studies have been completed on humans, SCCPs are classified as toxic to aquatic organisms, and carcinogenic to rats and mice.
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Old 05-18-2015, 07:50 PM   #3
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Do a search for the "Material Safety Data Sheet" for linoleum. Anything used by humans in anyway must have an MSDS created for it. If you don't believe this, look up the one for "water". there is a large number of sites on the 'Net for MSDS's.

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Old 05-18-2015, 08:04 PM   #4
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Have you all found a safe flooring? What is everyone else using?
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Old 05-18-2015, 08:22 PM   #5
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I don't want to discourage the discussion. Actually, I am glad it took a turn to materials in flooring. I am using stress mats that interlock. They are from Harbor Freight. They likely have toxins like everything else. I am not gluing them down so no fumes from adhesives (oops did I say that word) and if they get worn, stained etc. I can replace just the damaged ones and access to the metal flooring is simple.
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Old 05-18-2015, 08:48 PM   #6
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IMO "Safe" is open to interpretation, even by the federal government, but I won 't go there...

Man made products are loaded with all sorts of chemicals. I believe the number that were grandfathered in decades ago and are exempt from newer safety testing/regulations is 88,000, but I digress...

You can go into the "build" section of the forum to see what everyone used for floor treatments, and frequently hear about their reasoning behind their choices too. The longer threads will usually have some floor info. For the most part, I think it 's safe to say There are a lot of waterproof/impermeable surfaces used.

I don't have my bus yet, but fwiw I'm in the same yellow boat with you and product composition is certainly a consideration for me. I haven't decided on an alternative yet. The biggest consideration is rust. It's a double edged sword. You want to keep the moisture out and away from your steel floor, yet don't want to trap any moistire under/between two impervious layers. What is a happy medium? I don't have that answer yet. A other thing- insulation is important for any temperature ups and downs though. You are in a metal oven/freezer that conducts the outside temperature easily..

MSDS and MDS sheets are definitely a good start. The MSDS is comprehensive and includes all safety precauctions/first aid etc. the MDS (material data sheet) is not as detailed, but usually easier to find.

One thing for certain though. Most builds I've read, did strip down to the original steel floor, removed/treated any existing rust, then primed/etched/and/or painted. Ospho seems a popular product to treat the rust btw. (and has quite a MSDS sheet...)
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Old 05-18-2015, 09:03 PM   #7
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Holy Bus- that sounds like a happy interim solution. I like the fact that you can easily see what's going on underneath them, plus they have some insulating and sound-deadening qualities too

(I'll raise the white flag too...
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Old 05-18-2015, 09:20 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by ohanabus View Post
Have you all found a safe flooring? What is everyone else using?
I'm using commonly available stuff and not worrying about any of that.
I mean no offense.
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Old 05-18-2015, 10:44 PM   #9
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I am using stress mats that interlock. They are from Harbor Freight. They likely have toxins like everything else.
Is there anything sold at Harbor Freight that doesn't have a California Proposition 65 warning label?!
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Old 05-19-2015, 05:06 AM   #10
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Thank you all for the advise/input. I totally gutted my bus and treated the metal floor. I got 1" polystyrene and 3/4 tongue and groove subflooring down. i might just keep the floor the way it is but thought i would ask. I am really likeing this from home depot Husky 7.5 ft. x 17 ft. Diamond Grey Universal Flooring-HK70DT717SGRHD - The Home Depot
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Old 05-19-2015, 11:13 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ohanabus View Post
Looking for some advice. We are researching floor coverings and plan to full time in our bus. We where planning on using linoleum until we read about formaldehyde content. I talked with the flooring people at lowes and they said most of there flooring contains small amounts. Really not interested in building a gas chamber to house my family in. Anybody find a good cheap alternative? We looked into cork but really want vinyl planks or linoleum that is safe.

Are you using any OSB in your bus?

Plywood?

Adhesives?

Nat
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Old 05-19-2015, 04:02 PM   #12
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Are you using any OSB in your bus?

Plywood?

Adhesives?

Nat
Yes and im aware of the chemicals in them also. Just seems like there is less info on floor covering.
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Old 05-19-2015, 04:04 PM   #13
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Husky 7.5 ft. x 17 ft. Diamond Grey Universal Flooring-HK70DT717SGRHD - The Home Depot

I talked to the manufacturer of this flooring made in USA formaldehyde free and asbestos free
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Old 05-20-2015, 12:48 AM   #14
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Yes and im aware of the chemicals in them also. Just seems like there is less info on floor covering.
Because unless your installing the flooring in a method beyond manufactures specification's, the floor coverings don't out gas like OSB.

Unless your talking about the crappy laminate flooring every penny pincher buys that was made in China. That stuff is crap in every way shape and form, and should never be installed in a bus anyway.

Like installing lino in a room with a super heated floor. Then sure, it will out gas the chemicals too.

Over all, the person installing the flooring will get far more exposure to the chemicals than the person living with the floor covering after. This is due to cutting, beathing the dust, fumes, ect.

This is one more reason I like vinyl plank flooring. No out gassing, and cuts with shears, or a utility knife.

Nat
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Old 05-20-2015, 06:14 AM   #15
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Five (Toxic) Stars: Consumer Reports and Vinyl Flooring – Center for Health, Environment & Justice

This says Vinyl is toxic.

Quote:
Vinyl flooring, both sheet and composite tiles (VCT), is made with Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC), also known as vinyl. PVC is the most hazardous plastic on the planet, manufactured with and releasing chlorine gas, ethylene dichloride, vinyl chloride, mercury, dioxins, PCBs and other hazardous pollutants. It is nothing short of an environmental nightmare. Vinyl flooring is made with phthalates, toxic chemical additives used to make vinyl products more flexible. They do not bind to the plastic and are released into the air during the life of the product – exposing children and consumers to these unnecessary toxic chemicals.
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Old 05-20-2015, 07:50 AM   #16
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Sounds so scary. It should - it was obviously written to be. What the author of that statement didn't say is that PVC doesn't release chlorine gas unless it's burned. But many plastics will do that, not just PVC - urethane is INCREDIBLY toxic when burned. But so is pressure-treated wood - its soot and ash contain highly concentrated levels of arsenic. Burning OSB also releases formaldehyde (among other things from its glues) - and you don't always need to burn it for that to outgas.

Diesel fumes are bad for you. Paint fumes are bad for you. Most industrial sealants are super bad for you. Indoor latex paints aren't terrible - except they're made of latex. No big deal because most people don't lick their walls... but then you paint your floor with it and have a barefoot guest with a latex allergy and you're right back in trouble.

Sooner or later you have to pick your poisons.
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Old 05-20-2015, 07:53 AM   #17
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Oh I agree, I only posted that because I wanted to illustrate that there really isn't any "magic bullet".
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Old 05-20-2015, 07:56 AM   #18
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Some more on the subject-
Vinyl: A Safe Flooring Choice? - Toxic Free Kids

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As you ponder purchasing flooring for your home, it’s vital you know that vinyl flooring is made of PVC. What’s the problem with that?

As the ingredient used to give flexibility to vinyl, PVC is a dangerous chemical that causes what’s known as “gassing” in your home—which is incredibly toxic. Rolls of vinyl are more toxic than vinyl tiles, so it’s safe to say that the softer the vinyl, the more toxic it is.

There have been suggestions that if you purchase vinyl and let it “gas out” in a safe place—possibly a garage—you can let the worst of the fumes out before installation. But let’s face it: your garage—or any area you would consider safe—is still gaining exposure. Other than leaving the material outside for weeks (which isn’t good for the environment either), there is really no safe place to gas it out.

Not only is the vinyl itself toxic, but the adhesive you use to install it is going to be too. Most adhesives contain formaldehyde, which is also toxic. While we understand that not everyone can afford hardwood or ceramic tile flooring, any alternative to vinyl is a better solution.
http://articles.mercola.com/sites/ar...ns-health.aspx

Quote:
By Dr. Mercola

You’ve probably given careful consideration to the food your children consume on a daily basis. But what about the other environmental influences they’re exposed to on a near 24/7 basis, such as the materials in their living space and, more specifically, your flooring?

It is likely no one in your home is more familiar with your floor than young children or toddlers living there, as this is where they spend a good deal of time – exploring, playing and learning the ropes of life.

As they crawl, their hands (that will later end up in their mouths) sweep across the surface, and their faces are in close proximity to the material itself, and any emissions that have accumulated in household dust.

Toxic chemicals, including some that are so dangerous to children they have been banned from toys, are widely used in popular flooring materials, and new research shows that these chemicals can be taken up by infants’ bodies as they crawl along on the floor.

Serious Risks from PVC Flooring Revealed

If your home contains soft, flexible plastic flooring, such as vinyl or those padded play-mat floors for kids (often used in day cares and kindergartens, too), there’s a good chance it is made from polyvinyl chloride (PVC). One of the main problems with PVC is that it contains phthalates, or "plasticizers," which are a group of industrial chemicals used to make plastics like PVC more flexible and resilient.

They're also one of the most pervasive endocrine disrupters so far discovered. A new study conducted by Swedish researchers found levels of certain phthalates were higher in the urine of babies that had PVC flooring on their bedroom floor.1

Researchers concluded:

“The findings indicate that the use of soft PVC as flooring material may increase the human uptake of phthalates in infants. Urinary levels of phthalate metabolites during early life are associated with the use of PVC flooring in the bedroom, body area, and the use of infant formula.

This study shows that the uptake of phthalates is not only related to oral uptake from, for example, food but also to environmental factors such as building materials. This new information should be considered when designing indoor environments, especially for children.”

This is not the first time PVC flooring has made headlines. Past research has linked it to increased levels of phthalates in household dust, which in turn is linked to chronic health conditions like allergies and asthma. One study also found that infants who lived in bedrooms with vinyl floors were twice as likely to have autism as infants with wood flooring.2
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Old 05-20-2015, 08:03 AM   #19
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Diesel fumes are bad for you. Paint fumes are bad for you. Most industrial sealants are super bad for you. Indoor latex paints aren't terrible - except they're made of latex. No big deal because most people don't lick their walls...
Makes me long for the lead paint chips...always tasty
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Old 05-20-2015, 11:14 AM   #20
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The HD flooring is pretty tough stuff but I plan on going with a tile version of a similar product. It just makes replacing/renewing wear areas so much simpler. Since my bus is so small, I am favoring the round dot Pirelli floor tiles. Expensive, but I don't need that much and the quality is top of the line. Had them in a kitchen I built out years ago and absolutely loved it. Almost indestructible. It will no doubt outlast me, but if I somehow manage to screw it up...at least the fix is a simple one. Also a lot easier to cut & fit when working with smaller pieces.
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