The average lifespan of tile is 17 years. That adds up to 51 billion square feet (about twice the area of Rhode Island) of tile currently installed in the United States. That’s enough tile, when placed end to end, to reach the moon 41 times.
Why is this important?
The question ‘What’s lurking in your grout?’ is important because with every foot of tile there is always grout. You can’t have tile without grout. And with that much tile just imagine how much grout we have.
The vast majority of grout is a seemingly innocuous, cement-based material. Most construction, renovation, and installation often overlook or underestimate the hidden dangers and subsequent impact that grout can have on you, your loved ones and the environment.
Grout’s Hidden Dangers
Grout is made with many potentially harmful or hazardous materials, but they are usually gone once the installation process is complete. However, many grouts have additives, like pesticides, that are intended to improve mold and mildew resistance, and this is where the real problems begin.
Pesticides can cause short-term adverse health effects, called acute effects, as well as chronic adverse effects that can occur months or years after exposure.
Pesticides in Grout: What You Need to Know
Some people are more vulnerable than others to pesticide impacts. For example, infants and young children who are often crawling or playing on the floor, are known to be more susceptible than adults to the toxic effects of pesticides.
Chronic health effects include cancer and other tumors; brain and nervous system damage; birth defects; infertility and other reproductive problems; and damage to the liver, kidneys, lungs and other body organs. Chronic effects may not appear for weeks, months or even years after exposure, making it difficult to link health impacts to pesticides.
When browsing grout options, you might come across terms like “Mold Protector Plus” or “Micro-Never.” These labels indicate that the grout contains pesticides, which could be harmful to both you and the environment. While some manufacturers may develop their own exclusive brands or trade names, the presence of such additives should raise concerns.
The Role of the EPA in Grout Additives
Grout additives are often registered with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for mold and mildew resistance. Why would an EPA-registered additive be a cause for concern? Just because a substance is registered for a specific use, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s safe, or even necessary, for your home.
Many of the chemicals added to grout are biocides or toxins that have been rated as high-level carcinogens. Some additives, like Silver Ion, are heavy metals that can have a detrimental impact on the environment. According to a 1997 white paper from the US Forestry Service, Silver poses a significant long-term threat to aquatic life and plants, making it a greater concern than other heavy metals like mercury or lead.
As validation of this point, it’s important to note that the world’s largest retailer has begun an initiative towards achieving 100% Metal Free Antimicrobials (MFAs) on all consumer goods.
The Effectiveness of Grout Additives
It’s also important to question the actual effectiveness of grout additives in preventing mold and mildew growth. The only way these chemicals can work is to leach out of the grout. However, because grout has a high pH (9) for its first two years, it can inhibit mold and mildew growth on its own.
This begs the question, are the additives still present and effective by the time the grout becomes susceptible to mold and mildew growth or have these toxins fully leached out and poisoned the people, animals and environment around it.
Greenwashing in the Grout Industry
Many grout manufacturers claim their products are “green” or environmentally friendly, yet they still include biocides in their grout to make marketing claims. The reality is these additives might not provide any actual protection against mold and mildew and might not be desirable for your home or the environment.
The Impact on Your Home and the Environment
When choosing grout, it is essential to consider both the environment and the health of those living in your home. Do you want your pets or young children exposed to metals or biocides? When labels mention mold or mildew protection, it’s time to seek better alternatives.
Introducing Litokol: A Healthier and Safer Grout Alternative
A 2016 European Union funded initiative and independently certified R&D project named Project ZERO (Zero Environmental Risks in Our buildings) has resulted in a generational advancement in safety. The results are the very first-time tile installation products have no risks to the installers, in transportation, on jobsites or homes, and no negative environmental risks normally associated with high performance installation products. All these products are now referred to as ZHERORisk Products® (an H added for Health)
Litokol, a company based in Rubiera, Italy, offers ZHERORisk a safer, cleaner, and greener solution for your tile and stone projects. Their grouts, like the Litokol Starlike Grouts, do not contain biocides, as they believe they are unnecessary. These grouts are waterproof, impervious to water, and never need sealing, making them resistant to mold and mildew growth.
Why Choose Litokol?
Litokol Starlike Grouts are pet-friendly, environmentally friendly, and free of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). They are available on Amazon, HomeDepot.com, Walmart.com, Lowes.com and in stores like Floor and DIcor. By choosing Litokol Starlike Grouts, you are opting for a healthier and safer alternative for your home and the environment.
Make Informed Choices for Your Home
When selecting grout for your tile and stone installations, it’s crucial to be aware of the potential dangers lurking in the additives used by some manufacturers. Prioritize the health and safety of your family and the environment by seeking out alternatives like Litokol Starlike Grouts, which are free of harmful biocides and heavy metals.
Remember, if the grout label states “Protected by ________” or mentions mold and mildew resistance, it’s time to put that bag of potentially toxic grout down and opt for a safer choice. Choose Litokol Starlike Grouts for a cleaner, greener, and healthier home.
This press release sheds light on these concerns and presents a safer, healthier alternative.
SOURCE The Tile Doctor