Real Wood Floors: Finish Contributes to Green Flooring

June 15, 2009

ST. LOUIS, June 15 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Everyone knows that wood floors are a green flooring product, but what you may not know is that the finish you put on wood floors can affect their “greenness” as well.

Wood floor finishes contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which are gases emitted from the finish that may have adverse health effects on humans. To limit human exposure to VOCs, the state of California established the California Air Resources Board (CARB) as a separate department of the California Environmental Protection Agency to monitor California’s air quality. CARB is tasked with gathering air quality data, designing and implementing models for air quality improvement, and setting air quality standards for the state. As a result of their research, CARB has established stringent regulations regarding VOC emissions.

In general, CARB regulations are the most restrictive in the United States. In other areas of the country, such as the North East, regulations are governed by the Ozone Transport Commission (OTC). States subject to these regulations include Ohio, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maine, parts of Virginia, and Washington, DC. Illinois and Rhode Island will implement OTC standards beginning in July 2009, while Indiana will follow suit in 2010. Generally speaking, these regulations reduce overall VOC emissions from products in an effort to reduce both environmental impact and human exposure.

As an example, substances classified as varnishes, which includes both oil-modified and water-based finishes, currently have a national VOC limit set at 450 grams per liter. OTC states place more stringent standards, establishing a ratio of 350 grams per liter, while CARB standards are even more stringent at 275 grams per liter. Although many areas have not yet established VOC compliance legislation, implementation dates have been established through 2012 for many areas. A complete list of regulatory dates is available on the National Wood Flooring Association’s web site at www.nwfa.org.

The NWFA is a not-for-profit trade organization of more than 3,700 wood flooring professionals working worldwide to educate consumers, architects, designers, and builders in the uses and benefits of wood flooring. The NWFA can be contacted at 111 Chesterfield Industrial Blvd., Chesterfield, MO 63005, or at 800-422-4556 (USA), 800-848-8824 (Canada), or 636-519-9663 (local and international).

    Anita Howard
    Communications Director

SOURCE National Wood Flooring Association

Source: newswire

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