Explaining the difference between VOC content and VOC emissions.
W. R. MEADOWS has a tradition of environmental awareness starting in the 1990s, when we launched the GREEN LINE product portfolio showcasing products featuring lower VOC content using water-based formulations. Continuing this trend of lower VOC materials, you can now find the following products with California Department of Health (CDPH) VOC Emissions Certificates V1.2, 2017 not only under the GREEN BUILDING tab on our website, but on the newly created SUSTAINABILITY tab under each products’ data page. This tab will also include sustainability letters covering LEEDv4/4.1 criteria and newly added health product declarations (HPDs) as they are available.
California Department of Health (CDPH) VOC Emissions Certificates V1.2, 2017
What does a product with a CDPH certificate mean?
It means the product has been through an indoor air quality test that provides data ensuring the reduction of exposure to volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from construction materials in newly constructed or remodeled buildings.
It’s officially called The Standard Method for the Testing and Evaluation of Volatile Organic Chemical Emissions From Indoor Sources Using Environmental Chambers.
You may have seen it referenced in the past as California Specification 01350 or CAL 01350. It is one of the most widely used and accepted standards to evaluate building and interior products for low chemical emissions. Since its inception by California, many other states, specifiers and building owners have adopted this standard. As this standard expands into more states and projects, W. R. MEADOWS will continue to lead the industry in its commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship by offering green, low VOC products.
What are volatile organic compounds (VOCs)?
VOCs are carbon-containing chemicals that evaporate into the atmosphere. They are used as ingredients in common household paints, cleaning products, adhesives and other liquid products.
Concentrations of VOCs are typically higher indoors due to the building containment versus the open air outdoors and that’s why this emissions testing is important as it shows the product has VOC levels below the CDPH test criteria.
What types of products does CDPH test?
Emission rates for a product and predicted indoor concentrations are tested in various environments, such as in the office, classroom and residential scenarios. Since these scenarios are interior type spaces, typically interior products are tested, such as workstations, seating, tables, desks and building products, such as paints, coatings, adhesives, carpet, and flooring. This is an exclusively indoor test method, so exterior-applied products are not tested.
What VOCs are tested?
It looks at predicted concentrations for 35 VOCs compared to the maximum allowable levels.
These levels are derived from the Chronic Reference Exposure Levels (CRELs) published by California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA). Some compounds that are tested include a number of aldehydes – one being formaldehyde, as well as, benzene, toluene, hexane and methylene chloride.
What products do not need to be tested?
Products considered inherently non-emitting are not tested. Examples of inherently non-emitting sources of VOCs are stone, ceramic, powder-coated metals, plated or anodized metal, glass, concrete, clay brick, and unfinished or untreated solid wood are considered fully compliant without any VOC emissions testing if they do not include integral organic-based surface coatings, binders, or sealants.
What’s the difference between VOC content and VOC emissions?
VOC content and VOC emissions are two different requirements.
VOC content testing only identifies the percentage by weight of volatile compounds present in a particular product. It is measured in g/L and is typically found on safety data sheets (SDS) for wet-applied products. It is interesting to note that the presence of VOCs does not always indicate or correlate to what will be emitted from a product.
VOC emissions testing is much more elaborate, involving a multi-day test in a dedicated chamber and measuring how much of specific VOCs the product emits. It is measured in mg/m3 and can test wet or non-wet materials.
If you have questions or would like to learn more about GREEN LINE, contact your local sale office at (800) 342-5976.
You may also be interested in How Do VOCs Affect My Construction Project?
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W. R. MEADOWS’ VP Dave Carey gives an in-depth look at VOC rules and regulations. Dave has over 30 years in the industry, and oversees all of the legal requirements facing W. R. MEADOWS. For more information about products and standards, click here: https://www.wrmeadows.com/standards-approvals