Mercury-Containing Flooring – A potential health concern
It’s been in the news…harmful levels of mercury vapors have reportedly been released into the air from some athletic polymer floors. From 1960 to 1980 mercury was used in the polymer mixture, as a catalyst, to form a solid rubber flooring mixture. Specifically, it was Phenyl-mercuric-Acetate (PMA) that was used to spread and level the liquid flooring. Known flooring manufactures who used PMA in their product included 3M Corporation – Tartan® floors and Tartan® track, American Biltrite Rubber Co. Inc.: Amtico Rubber Flooring, Athletic Polymer Systems (APS), Crossfield Products Corp. — Dex-O-Tex, Mondo Rubber, Pitzer Inc., Selby Battersby & Company, Sportan Surfaces, Inc., Robbins Sports Surfaces – Chemturf® as well as other manufactures.
It is unknown whether these floors are still being installed or even how many floors have been installed to date. These floors have been installed in schools, colleges, athletic facilities, field houses, outdoor running tracks, hospitals, prisons or wherever a nonslip floor is needed.
Not every polyurethane floor used Hg nor is every floor with Hg a health hazard. However, we do know high levels of Hg can permanently damage the brain, kidney or a developing fetus. Therefore, if your rubberized floor has cracks, seams, holes or is being abraded during resurfacing, you should have your floor tested.