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The GREENGUARD Gold standard includes health-based criteria for more than 360 VOCs and also requires lower total VOC emission levels to ensure that the products are acceptable for use in sensitive indoor environments like schools and healthcare facilities.
Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are carbon-based chemicals (such as formaldehyde) that easily become vapors or gases. Mattresses, flooring and even wall paints give off VOCs. According to Scott Steady, global business development manager for product sustainability at UL Solutions, VOCs are responsible for those smells associated with new buildings and cars. Inside your house, you may be breathing anywhere from 50 to hundreds of different VOCs at any time.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, indoor air can be two to five times more polluted than outdoor air. “We look at the air — it’s empty space, but there are hundreds of chemicals floating around at low levels in our space. Those chemicals are in every breath,” said Steady.
One of the primary sources of this pollution is furnishings and building materials, which can release hundreds of VOCs into the air. Breathing these pollutants is linked to a variety of health problems, including allergies, asthma, cardiovascular disease, reproductive disorders and some forms of cancer.
If a product has been UL GREENGUARD Certified, it has been tested and scientifically proven to have low chemical emissions, said Steady. In other words, using UL GREENGUARD Certified products can help highlight your efforts to reduce VOCs in indoor environments and contribute to healthier and cleaner indoor air for families.