Flooring is a necessary commodity but that doesn’t mean it’s all good for the environment. Some flooring is better than others when it comes to being earth-friendly and safe and healthy for your family as well.
By selecting flooring that has environmental certification, you can make a difference. Below you’ll find the different flooring environmental certifications explained.
Flooring Environmental Dangers
There are many ways in which flooring can damage the environment and human health. It can pollute the air with volatile organic compounds (VOCs) including cancer-causing carcinogens such as benzene and formaldehyde. Consumers should beware regardless of whether the dangerous substances are of natural sources or originate from toxic chemicals the flooring is treated with.
What Are VOCs?
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) are substances are organic chemicals that possess a high vapor pressure when they are at room temperature. VOCs are found in things like scented produces and pollutants. They are often found in items within the home such as flooring. Many VOCs are not easily detected but are dangerous to the environment and to pets and people.
Some of the short-term health issues that tend to arise from VOCs are:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Headaches and dizziness
- Asthma symptoms
- Eye, throat, and nose irritations
Long-term indications include:
- Central nervous system damage
- Liver and kidney damage
Formula for TVOC Concentrations
The total amount of VOC content is referred to as TVOC. It determines the combined concentrations of VOC that are present in the air and is measured in several different ways but milligrams per cubic meter is the most common way.
The total VOC content or “TVOC” determines the combined concentration of VOCs in the air. VOCs can be measured in several ways, but the most common is milligrams per cubic meter (mg/m3).
You can find a breakdown of acceptable TVOC concentrations here.
The Good News: Flooring Environmental Certifications
Many of the products that contain dangerous VOCs and phthalates were considered to be near miracles at the time of their invention. Advances in packaging made food stay fresh longer, cleaning products cut through grease and grime like never before, and new technology allowed flooring to become better and cheaper. But, as time has rolled on, more has been discovered about the hazards of such “modern miracle” substances.
The US Environmental Protection Agency now has standards for products that meet the standards of Indoor Air Quality (IAQ), that requires scientific testing.
Below is a breakdown of some of the various different flooring environmental, safety, or sustainability certifications.
Floor Score® Certification
FloorScore® is a certification for a product’s indoor air quality (IAQ) standard. It is the most widely recognized among flooring product certifications. It was developed by SCS with the Resilient Floor Covering Institute to be used for compliance on hard surface flooring materials, adhesives, and underlayments.
GreenGuard Certifications have been implemented to make sure flooring is safe for people, pets, and the environment. Only products that are low in VOC and phthalates emissions receive the certifications.
CRI Green Label Plus Certification
CRI Green Label Plus Certification sets apart flooring products like carpet and adhesive cushion products that are rigorously tested to be safe for the environment, pets, and humans.
Learn More: https://carpet-rug.org/testing/green-label-plus/
ASSURED Certified is applied to SPC or WPC flooring tests and construction for indoor air quality. Products are rigorously tested for performance, low heavy metal content, and ortho-phthalates content.
Forest Stewardship Council
The Forest Stewardship Council s a certification verifying the Chain of Custody and tracks the manufacturing of FSC®-certified flooring by special order. FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) also provides a distinctive third-party certification confirmation that materials that are used in the making of flooring are harvested from forests that are properly managed.
Learn More: https://fsc.org/en
The National Wood Flooring Association provides verification that hardwood has been harvested with an approved chain of custody from forestry practices that are responsibly managed and that have sustainable forestry practices.
Learn More: https://nwfa.org/
Appalachian Hardwood Verified Sustainable lets consumers know that lumber and products sourced from the region are growing 2.4 times the rate of mortality and combined as based on US Forest Service Forest Inventory Analysis.
Learn More: https://appalachianhardwood.org/
What Environmental Certifications Mean to Consumers
Gone are the days that the damage is done before consumers find out a product they had in their home for years was hazardous. With Environmental Certifications, you can make wise decisions that keep you, your friends, family, and pets, and the environment safer.