MARIETTA, GA - It may be hard to believe, but research shows the air inside our homes and schools can be more toxic than the air outside. Why? Because the very materials and products we use to furnish and maintain our indoor environments can release hundreds of pollutants such as formaldehyde, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), ozone, and even biological allergens.
The evidence is significant because statistics show that children spend roughly 85 percent of their time indoors. Children are especially at risk, particularly those with asthma, allergies and respiratory diseases. One organization, the GREENGUARD Environmental Institute (GEI), offers a solution to parents concerned about the indoor air quality of their homes and children's schools: the GREENGUARD Children & SchoolsSM certification program, with rigorous standards that address the unique sensitivities of infants and children.
GREENGUARD Children & Schools is one of three certification programs overseen by GEI. The industry-independent, nonprofit Institute was founded in 2001 to establish certification programs to measure and verify that the levels of chemical emissions of products being used indoors are acceptable. As an American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Authorized Standards Developer, GEI establishes acceptable indoor air standards for building materials, interior products, indoor environments and building designs, and GEI is considered one of the world's foremost resources on indoor air quality.
Today, the GREENGUARD certification mark can be found on more than 170,000 interior products produced by more than 150 manufacturers. Among those companies meeting the requirements for use of the GREENGUARD mark are DuPont, Georgia-Pacific, BASF, Owens Corning, Hunter Douglas, Benjamin Moore, bedding manufacturer Naturepedic, and cleaning product producer JohnsonDiversey. Product categories undergo quarterly testing to ensure that products continue to meet emissions criteria. The ongoing testing is necessary for products to retain their certification.
"More and more parents recognize the importance of providing their children with an interior environment that is as clear of pollutants as possible," says GEI founder Marilyn Black. "Unfortunately, it is very difficult to distinguish which products are truly environmentally friendly and which ones are not. The GREENGUARD mark ensures a particular product has passed rigorous testing to prove it will emit the fewest possible pollutants into the air."
About GREENGUARD Children & Schools/GEI
An extension of the established GREENGUARD Indoor Air Quality Certified program, the GREENGUARD Children & Schools standard takes into account the special sensitivities of children and incorporates some of the most stringent product emissions criteria. This standard requires that everyday products meet strict emission levels of pollutants including VOCs, phthalates and respirable particles.
Founded in 2001, GEI is an industry independent, nonprofit organization that oversees the GREENGUARD Certification ProgramSM, including GREENGUARD Children & Schools. The Institute's mission is to improve human health and quality of life through programs that improve indoor air. The more than 170,000 GREENGUARD-certified products must meet stringent standards for low chemical emissions based on established health criteria from the United States Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) and the state of California Air Resources Board (CARB). Products also undergo rigorous testing and verification processes on a regular basis. For more information on the GREENGUARD Children & Schools certification program and GEI, visit www.greenguard.org.