When searching for a new piece of furniture, you most likely will have seen one of the GREENGUARD labels. Rectangular and lime green in colour, the certificate comes in two tiers, standard and gold. Whilst both indicate a high level of safety and sustainable production, products that meet the Gold standard go through the most stringent tests, and produce only the best results.
In a nutshell, the GREENGUARD Certification is an exhaustive, all-encompassing program, scientifically proven to meet some of the most rigorous, third-party chemical emissions standards out there, helping to reduce indoor air pollution and the risk of chemical exposure, whilst aiding in the creation of healthier indoor environments.
This is increasingly important, with indoor air quality regularly shown to be much more harmful than outdoors. There may be anywhere from 50 to over 100 different VOCs (Volatile organic compounds) in the indoor air at any one time, released by countless indoor items. Some may be noticeable by their odour, (that new carpet smell, for instance) but many are completely unnoticeable. Long-term VOC exposure can cause headaches, eye, nose or throat irritation and dizziness, as well as leading to chronic diseases or cancer. In high concentrations, they are even toxic.
When applied to furniture GREENGUARD Certification identifies the recognized VOCs which are health hazards and ensures that throughout its lifecycle, the particular product has ultra-low emission levels of these chemicals, safeguarding against exposure.
Previously known as the GREENGUARD Children & Schools Certification, The GREENGUARD Gold certification is the “gold standard”, with even stricter performance metrics expected from the products. This level was specifically developed to ensure products were acceptable for use in environments such as schools and healthcare facilities, for the most sensitive and at-risk individuals.
In addition to limiting emissions of more than 360 VOCs and total chemical emissions, GREENGUARD Gold Certified products must also comply with requirements of the state of California Department of Public Health (CDPH) Standard Method for the Testing and Evaluation of Volatile Organic Chemical Emissions from Indoor Sources Using Environmental Chambers,(also known as California Section 01350). Office furniture products that are GREENGUARD Gold Certified are also compliant with the BIFMA X7.1 standard.
To obtain this certification, manufacturers must go through an evaluation process that can take up to six months, which is then followed by continuous documentation and testing in order to maintain this certification.
Children are significantly more susceptible to breathing in particulate matter and airborne chemicals than adults. Their smaller bodies mean they breathe in more air in relation to their body size, they are lower to the ground where more particles are kicked up, and they tend to breathe through their mouths more than their noses. This makes them more likely to be impacted by allergens and particles, causing headaches, eye, nose and throat irritation and potentially creating larger health issues for those whose bodies are still developing.
Sourcing GREENGUARD Gold Certified furniture is, therefore, a great way to reduce the likelihood of disrupting a child’s health and wellbeing, especially in education settings where there is a lot of furniture and children spend a lot of time concentrating.
Like children, people who are ill are particularly vulnerable to VOCs, as their bodies immune systems are not as ready to fight off allergies or toxins. GREENGUARD Gold Certified furniture should always be sourced where possible to alleviate the risks of airborne matter causing further health complications.
The same can also be said for laboratory environments, where air quality has is strictly controlled, and any contaminants can be detrimental to the ongoing activities, or even hazardous.
We are continuously working hard to improve the way we design our furniture, with a sustainability department committed to not only reducing our impact on the environment but to increase the health and wellbeing of those that use our designs.
Flokk is proud to offer 25 product families that are GREENGUARD Gold certified, including every new chair produced by HÅG, RH & RBM, as well as the BMA Axia.
We are continually developing our production methods, with the aim of increasing the number of certified products in our offering.
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