PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Vinyl flooring is long-lasting and inexpensive, but there have been a lot of questions lately about the safety of it.

As it turns out, vinyl flooring contains chemicals that have been linked to health risks.

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Consumer Reports just tested a variety of vinyl flooring to see which ones were the best and safest.

Today’s vinyl comes in all kinds of patterns. Some look a lot like marble, wood or even stone. And it’s one of the least expensive flooring you can buy.

But, there have been safety concerns about chemicals called phthalates that are sometimes added to make it pliable.

“There is a concern that some phthalates may be endocrine disruptors, which will affect the hormonal systems of the body,” Consumer Reports’ Doris Sullivan said.

That’s especially a problem in unborn babies and young children because their bodies are still developing.

Consumer Reports ran lab tests on 17 vinyl-flooring products, testing for 13 types of phthalates. Besides checking the composition of the flooring itself, the lab also tested to see whether phthalates could be wiped off the vinyl flooring onto your hands or get into the air.

“What we found was that there may be considerable amounts of phthalates in the compositions of the materials itself, but our tests show that very little came out into the air or on the wipes themselves,” Sullivan said.

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Although the phthalate levels were very low, Consumer Reports recommends wet-mopping vinyl floors often if you have young children in the house and wash their hands after they’ve crawled on the floor.

Still, Consumer Reports says vinyl flooring has a lot to recommend it.

“Vinyl is a terrific value. It had superior performance in our durability tests at a very affordable price,” flooring tester John McAloon said.

Tests were done on all types of flooring to see how well it stood up to foot traffic, scratches, dents and how well it resisted stains and whether it will fade in sunlight.

The best vinyl flooring survived all those tests and looks nearly new.

Here are the vinyl flooring products Consumer Reports recommends:

  • Tarkett NAFCO PermaStone Collection-Natural Slate-Sand Stone NS-660
  • Congoleum DuraCeramic Sierra Slate SI-74 Golden Greige
  • Armstrong Luxe Plank Timber Bay Barnyard Gray A6861
  • Armstrong Alterna Mesa Stone Canyon Sun D4112
  • Shaw Matrix Regency Gunstock Oak LX90100706

Consumer Reports’ floor-buying information is available free here.

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