By Dean Thompson, president, RFCI
Diisononyl Phthalate (DINP) is a general plasticizer used in many products, including some vinyl flooring and carpet backings, as well as roofing, wire, cable and automotive parts. In December 2013, DINP was added as a reproductive hazard to a list of almost 900 chemicals established under California’s Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986, commonly referred to as Prop 65. Manufacturers using DINP were given a one-year period to determine whether warnings needed to be displayed on their products containing DINP.
Based on DINP’s long history of safe use in flooring and other building products, the Resilient Floor Covering Institute asked that this decision be reviewed. The request, filed in November 2014, was the first Safe Use Determination sought since late 2007. This past June, the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA), which works under Prop 65 to evaluate environmental and safety risks, issues a Safe Use Determination for DINP in vinyl flooring products.
Acting under the authority of Prop 65, exposure experts at OEHHA reviewed DINP documentation for four types of vinyl flooring — heterogeneous, homogeneous, vinyl tile and vinyl composition tile. They studied a variety of exposures, including skin absorption, inhalation and ingestion. The agency determined that DINP exposure from vinyl flooring containing 18.9% of DINP or less does not exceed the safe harbor level and issued a Safe Use Determination on June 21, 2016. Therefore, a Prop 65 consumer warning for qualifying products is not required.
The resilient flooring industry is pleased that OEHHA has reviewed exposure levels of DINP in both virgin and recycled vinyl flooring and found that qualifying products do not require a Prop 65 warning. OEHHA’s decision confirms that DINP in vinyl flooring not exceeding the 18.9% threshold is safe and appropriate for homes and commercial buildings. DINP is a thoroughly studied compound that enhances the flexibility, resiliency and long-lasting performance of many vinyl products.
This year, the California Court of Appeals will consider an appeal filed by the American Chemistry Council in May 2015 to remove DINP from the Prop 65 list.
The Resilient Floor Covering Institute is a nonprofit industry trade association that represents the major manufacturers of resilient flooring and associated materials marketed throughout North America. RFCI has led the resilient flooring industry to the forefront of sustainability with the development of four environmental tools for purchasers and specifiers: The FloorScore independent certification program for indoor air emissions; Environmental Product Declarations that disclose industry averages for environmental impacts over a product’s lifecycle; Product Transparency Declarations that provide information on flooring product ingredients; and ANSI/NSF 332 Sustainability Assessment for Resilient Floor Coverings that provides a third-party product sustainability certification.
For more information about RFCI and resilient flooring, visit rfci.com.