Floors Can Make You Sick. A Look at Toxic Flooring: Tile, Carpet, and Bamboo

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Can bamboo flooring make you sick? Image by Pbroks13

Are Wood or Bamboo Floors the Solution?

Mold (a fungus) and mildew doesn’t only appear on carpets, but they can live under wet floorboards, too. Inhaling mold affects the upper respiratory passages and can produce allergic-like responses, including skin rashes. A musty odor may permeate the room when you’ve got a mold problem, but not always. In warm climates floor joists are particularly susceptible to mold.

“Organic” flooring has become popular, and new information on how some people are affected by it is gradually becoming available.

Bamboo flooring, the new sustainable “green” flooring, can also be hazardous to your health.  Notice an odor after installing gorgeous new bamboo floors?  If airing out the room doesn’t help, consider the glue and floor itself.

Bamboo is a grass material that can take up to 5 years to harden. If it is cut too early for faster profit, it will create a softer floor. The softer floor can dent over time from dropped objects, or even from heavy footsteps – when it dents, it expels dust. Bamboo cannot be sanded to smooth the indentations without jeopardizing your health as tears and fibers exist in the softened thinned material.

Chinese bamboo, like other bamboo used for flooring, consists of strips of grass glued together. The more strips the manufacturer packs together for thicker floors, the more glue there’ll be in your floor. With warmth and time this glue can release toxic fumes, affecting the eyes and respiratory system.

Look for formaldehyde-free flooring and buy flooring when you know the origin of the product, and when warranties for wellness are available should the floor create a problem later.

Toxic Flooring: What’s Under Your Feet?

When unexplained or prolonged respiratory ailments and fatigue strike, closing the windows may not be the solution. Instead, open the windows, and look at your floors.

Sources

Carlstedt F, Jönsson BA, Bornehag CG. PVC flooring is related to human uptake of phthalates in infants. (2012). Indoor Air. Accessed April 26, 2013.

WebMD. Moisture and Mold Problems: Preventing and Solving Them in Your Home. (2012). Accessed April 25, 2013.

Environment and Human Health, Inc. Human Exposures to DEHPAccessed April 25, 2013.

Bamboo Flooring Truth. Bamboo Flooring Pros and Cons. Accessed April 25, 2013.

United States Environmental Protection Agency. Indoor Air Quality (IAQ). (2013). Accessed April 25,2013.

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