iStock_000008115156LargeIn a victory for families, the nation’s third largest home improvement chain is joining Home Depot and Lowe’s in removing a class of chemicals known as phthalates from their vinyl flooring. In response to a pressure from children’s, environment, and health groups, Menards made its announcement last week.

Phthalates make plastics soft and pliable, and are used in many products, such as food packaging, personal care products, and vinyl flooring. But they can have negative health consequences, especially for fetuses and young children.

Exposure to these chemicals has been shown to reduce testosterone production in male fetuses, resulting in birth defects and compromising childhood development. Young children in their crawling stages come into frequent close contact with floors and have higher ventilation rates and hand-to-mouth activity, all of which increase their exposure to the toxic phthalates released. It can also increase the risk of a child developing allergies or asthma.

Congress has recognized the dangers by enacting legislation that bans certain classes of phthalates from children’s toys. Now that toys are safe, advocates are turning their attention to the phthalates found in vinyl flooring, which can be released into the air.

First Focus joined our partners at the Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families Mind the Store Campaign in urging Menard’s to end the sale of vinyl flooring containing phthalates last June. We will continue to urge all companies to keep the safety of children in mind and end the use of phthalates in products used or exposed to children.

Thank you @Menards for protecting our children and removing phthalates from your vinyl flooring: h/t @First_Focus
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Want to learn more? First Focus is a bipartisan advocacy organization dedicated to making children and families the priority in federal policy and budget decisions. Read more about our work on child safety.

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