Are Hybrid Floors Safe?
Recent renewed attention on cases of serious illness and death linked to silica content in concrete products and manufactured stone composite bench-tops has, understandably, now placed under the microscope all things that may contain silica.
Within the timber flooring industry, hybrid flooring products (a timber lookalike product) have been identified as products that may contain small traces of crystalline silica.
These products include (but are not limited to):
• LVT – Luxury vinyl tile
• WPC – wood plastic composite flooring
• SPC – solid polymer core flooring
• Rigid plank or core
These, and other plastic or vinyl based products already on the market or set to join it, are generally formulated with plasticizers, stabilisers and other additives that often contain small elements of limestone, and this is where crystalline silica may naturally occur.
When it comes to concrete and kitchen bench-tops, wet cutting and the use of Respiratory Protective Equipment (RPE) is working to reduce – and hopefully prevent – new cases of silicosis.
The issue with hybrid flooring products is that they are unlikely to be wet cut, raising the concern that dust containing crystalline silica particles may be created. As such, it is essential that approved RPE is worn when cutting, penetrating or grinding these products.
Crystalline silica is found naturally in stone, rock, sand, gravel and clay. As mentioned, it may become part of hybrid flooring products via the use of limestone. When these materials are worked on, the concern becomes the creation of fine silica dust that can be easily breathed into our respiratory system. Use of these products by contractors and correct clean-up after use (to ensure the safety of property owners) is, therefore, critical.*
The following Parrys products have undergone approved third party testing to verify that they fall beneath the Safe Work Australia exposure standard for respirable crystalline silica. Parrys can produce certification of this, if requested.
Note: There are many operators who sell ‘cheaper versions’ of Hybrid plank on platforms like Marketplace, Gumtree and other similar sites that cannot produce certification regarding safe silica standards. It is important you know that what you are installing in your home is safe and appropriate for you and your family.
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