Five points on VOCs in green cleaning solutions

Thursday, January 19, 2017

High concentrations of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) can negatively impact indoor air quality and cause a variety of respiratory, cognitive and health-related problems, especially in children.

Here, Avmor, a leading North American manufacturer and marketer of cleaning solutions, provides five points to know about VOCs, specifically in green certified cleaning solutions:

1. No VOCs

If a green-certified product says it has no or few volatile organic compounds, that typically means there are no ozone-depleting VOCs in the product. It may still have VOCs that can impact the physical and mental health of the cleaning worker and building users.

2. Deceptive VOC measurements

The VOC content measurement given on a product label does not reflect the VOCs released during use. The only way to ensure a product does not emit high levels of VOCs is to measure VOC emissions; it is VOC emissions, not content, that contribute to indoor air pollution. Many cleaning products considered low-VOC green-certified are measured by their VOC content not by their actual VOC emissions.

3. Dual certification

Different certification organizations, such as Green Seal, the Safer Choice Program, ECOLOGO, and GREENGUARD, focus on different environmental issues. For instance, one puts more focus on sustainability, another on lifecycle considerations and another on chemical emissions and indoor air quality. If there are concerns about protecting indoor air quality, select a product that has been green certified by two certification organizations, for instance Green Seal and GREENGUARD.

4. Green aerosols

A product may have, for instance, 10 per cent VOCs by weight, low enough to classify it as green or environmentally friendly. However, if packaged as an aerosol, the VOC particles will atomize during use. When atomized, VOCs are smaller and lighter, which means they can be inhaled deeply into the lungs.

5. Reformulated cleaning solutions

Some traditional cleaning solutions that have been reformulated to meet green certification standards may meet those standards, but still emit VOCs that can harm indoor air quality over time

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