What’s a Phthalate and Why You Can’t Find Them in Home Depot

Originally Published June 2017

Phthalates (plasticizers) are additives used to make vinyl products (think garden hose, shower curtains and hundreds more) softer and flexible.

Sounds simple – add some to vinyl to make a zillion flexible products – but – like so many things we use, there’s another side to phthalate plasticizers. Here’s the story.

Phthalates are a known endocrine disruptor, negatively affecting the reproductive system of lab animals. There are even reports from the Everglades (think leaching landfills) of alligators with diminished or deformed sex organs.

Phthalates are a semi-volatile – they exude from vinyl and may be breathed or ingested. To prevent unintended health problems (sorry alligators) the CPSC has banned six phthalates from use in most juvenile products. Sharing this concern, Home Depot and Lowes committed by the end of 2015 to sell only phthalate free vinyl flooring to keep those crawling babies safe!

A great example of doing business responsibly and demonstrating that it’s possible to make flexible vinyl products without phthalate plasticizers. We’ve been doing this for 8 years!

We’ll talk more about safer vinyl products in coming posts so stay tuned!

Don Lennon