Recently, some of my friends found out that their young son has asthma. It’s mainly caused by his allergy to pollen and dust, but it can also be induced through exercise and an abundance of physical activity. Right now, they’re unsure if he’ll ever grow out of it, but it’s not unusual for children to suffer from asthma that eventually dissipates with age. Some children however, only develop asthma when they get older and this can be for a variety of reasons. One reason, researchers have found, is the use of PVC flooring.

According to the research, children with PVC flooring in their bedrooms are more likely to develop asthma within 10 years than children who live in houses without PVC flooring. In the cases where children ultimately developed asthma from PVC building materials, the PVC was most likely to be in the floor of their bedroom and their parent’s bedroom.

In the United States, the use of PVC flooring is not too uncommon, but many construction and flooring companies have steered away from using the materials because of the dangers they pose. However, the use of PVC flooring is still common in many other countries and it seems to be causing more children to develop asthma who wouldn’t normally develop the disorder.

Soft polyvinyl chloride (PVC) is common flooring material in Swedish homes used in more than 30% of the bedrooms. However, the problem with PVC is that it contains chemicals called phthalates which are released into the environment when they’re used. This group of chemicals has suspected endocrine interrupting properties that could affect different chronic disorders and disease like allergies and asthma.

The Dampness in Buildings and Health (DBH) study started in 2000 and it included the parents of over 14,000 children in Värmland, Sweden. The study used a questionnaire to ask questions about the overall health of the family as well as questions about lifestyle and building characteristics. A follow-up study was conducted in 2005 and again in 2010 to investigate the effects of PVC on children who were originally aged 1-5.

With the follow-up studies, it was found that children who had PVC floorings in their bedrooms at the baseline were more likely to be diagnosed with asthma within a 10 year period. In addition to this, children were even more likely to be diagnosed if their parent’s bedrooms had a baseline of PVC flooring. These results could be an indication of prenatal exposure and the overall results suggest that any type of early exposure to PVC flooring could have negative consequences later in life.

Source: Expertsvar (2013, October 24). PVC as flooring material in childhood is related to asthma 10 years later. ScienceDaily.

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