Products with low VOC (volatile organic compound) emissions

Atmospheric emissions regulations: “green” certification schemes are increasingly recognising the importance of low VOC or volatile organic compound emissions for sustainability.

The phenomenon of indoor pollution is attracting more and more attention these days, and most environmental sustainability certification schemes grant several credits for products with low emissions of VOCs, volatile organic compounds.

European Directive 2004/42/EC defines VOCs as “all organic compounds with an initial boiling point of no more than 250°C at a standard pressure of 101.3 kPa”. These compounds can produce appreciable quantities of airborne emissions under normal temperature and pressure conditions. Certain construction products, such as covering materials for walls, floors and ceilings, frames, adhesives and sealants, etc., can contain chemical substances (such as formaldehyde and VOCs) which release these pollutants into the atmosphere once installed. Some of these materials are also porous and absorbent, meaning they can trap odours and chemical products deriving from other construction processes and materials, only to release them again later.

Emission of volatile organic compounds may therefore be defined as the “ease” with which these compounds are released by the materials containing (or producing) them into the air around them, primarily through their exposed surfaces. VOC emissions therefore essential depend on the amount of exposed surface of the materials/products/manufactures in relation to the volume of the space in which they are located, temperature and relative humidity conditions in the environment, and ventilation.

On 28 January 2017  the Official Journal published the Italian Environment Ministry’s Decree concerning “Adoption of minimal environmental criteria for indoor furnishings, construction and textiles. Minimal environmental criteria had been defined in previous Decrees regarding categories of goods included in the National Plan of Action for Green Public Procurement (PAN GPP), approved by Decree no. 135 of 11 April 2008.

Point of the 2017 Decree regarding emissions from materials prescribes compliance with specific limits on emissions.

All San.Co’s wooden products are made out of products classified as E1 under standard UNI EN 717-1, that is, products with a very low formaldehyde content. To further protect users’ health, specific tests have been conducted on finished products, as may be seen in the table shown here: the tests were conducted on the basis of EN 717-1, but also on the basis of the French arretè, referring to standard AFNOR NF EN ISO 16000-9, or the American standard ASTM D6007-02.

Many of our products can, on request, be made with CARB2 certified materials and therefore in line with the requirements of Title VI of the TSCA (Toxic Substances Control Act) in effect since 01.06.2018.