CEH’s Built Environment Program works with large-scale purchasers from corporations to school districts, universities, and government bodies, advising them on how to procure healthy products like furniture, carpet, and flooring. By providing procurement officers and other staff with one-on-one consulting, customized technical assistance, webinars, and user-friendly product guides, CEH moves organizations from intention to implementation.
Through our Purchaser Pledge, we empower purchasers to buy furniture that does not contain the “Hazardous Handful” chemicals, which include toxics like flame retardants and fluorinated substances that have negative effects on health. The companies that have signed the pledge—including Kaiser Permanente, LinkedIn, and the University of California system—collectively spend more than $500 million annually on furniture.
Learn more about furniture and flooring Procurement.
Virtual Town Hall ‘The Great Indoors – Keeping Your Home Free of Toxics’
Did you know invisible pollutants in our indoor air can be harmful to our health? In our virtual town hall, we learned from experts the Dos and Don’ts of creating a healthy home and how we can stem the tide of unnecessary industry-created chemicals that find their way into our homes.
For 27 years, CEH’s Built Environment program has worked to clean up the furniture and flooring product categories by partnering with large institutions to leverage their purchasing power and transform markets away from toxic materials and towards health-protective practices.
Revealing Vinyl Flooring’s ‘Dirty Climate Secret’
CEH’s groundbreaking report in partnership with Material Research L3C and Autocase Economic Advisory uncovers the true carbon footprint of vinyl flooring made from polyvinyl chloride (PVC), including so-called “luxury vinyl tile.”
The report shows the true climate impact of producing this flooring, which manufacturers have been underreporting by up to 180%.
The report also provides the first-ever published estimates of the rate of use of notoriously harmful substances such as mercury, PFAS, and asbestos. These toxic substances used in PVC production both in the U.S. and in China, endanger workers and fenceline communities along the entire global supply chain. Moreover, recent research also implicates PVC manufacturers in the use of Uyghur forced labor in China.
“One of our key findings is that manufacturer Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) for PVC flooring draw from limited and outdated data and as a result underestimate the carbon dioxide equivalent emissions of producing vinyl flooring. Vinyl flooring production has shifted in recent years from the U.S. to China, where coal is used as a critical input and energy source in the production of vinyl flooring. As a result, this shift has led to skyrocketing carbon dioxide emissions.”
-Dr. Jimena Díaz Leiva, Science Director, CEH
“Despite its low cost and slick marketing, PVC flooring harbors a dirty climate secret: manufacturing this flooring releases enormous quantities of carbon dioxide into the air and requires some of the most toxic substances known to humans. We all stand on the precipice of an irreversible and catastrophic climate emergency. For that reason, it is time to make PVC flooring a relic of the past.”
-Michael Green, Founder, CEH