U.S. and Swedish researchers have discovered a surprising link between vinyl flooring and autism in children. In the course of researching allergies and indoor air pollutants, scientists discovered infants and toddlers who "lived in bedrooms with vinyl or PVC flooring were twice as likely to develop autism five years later than those with wood or linoleum flooring." The scientists said the connection was "far from conclusive" and recommended further study. Vinyl floors are made with phthalates, a softener for plastics, which may be emitted into the air from normal wear-and-tear. The controversial chemical was banned by Congress for use in children's products in 2008. In all, researchers identified four environmental factors associated with autism: vinyl flooring, the mother's smoking, family economic problems and poor ventilation in the home. For more information about proper home ventilation and healthy indoor air quality, see the renovateyourworld.com article, "Prescription for a Healthy Home."