Green Label Plus certification remains the most used, stringent standard for limits on chemical emissions from carpet
The cynics among us have not always embraced the idea of a carpet trade organization – the Carpet & Rug Institute (CRI) — being in charge of testing and certifying carpet as having low chemical emissions. In our scrutiny, we have gone so far as to debate whether CRI Green Label Plus certification is as reliable as an independent third-party certification.
So fairness dictates that we all take note: CRI Green Label Plus has just passed another yearly audit by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) – an independent organization that evaluates compliance with the International Organization of Standardization (ISO).
“The ANSI audit simply confirms that the Green Label Plus standard does what it says it is going to do in a transparent, professional way,” says Bethany Richmond, CRI communications manager. “The standard itself is testimony to the fact that it is a serious indicator of Indoor Air Quality. It is an aggressive and thorough standard.”
The Carpet & Rug Institute’s Green Label Plus standard certainly is more aggressive than the CRI Green Label (no “Plus”) standard, which CRI no longer uses for carpet, but uses to certify carpet pad as being low-emitting. CRI Green Label Plus also is used as the standard for the U.S. Green Building Council in determining what carpet products contribute to credit under the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) rating system.
The CRI Green Label Plus certification sets limits for the levels of certain chemicals carpet can emit based upon California standard 01350, which has been hailed as the strictest health-based standard in the country.
The testing is conducted by an independent laboratory, and those tests are regularly audited yearly by ANSI. To get certification, a product cannot exceed safety limits set for 13 VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) commonly emitted from carpet.
Carpet pad, however, still falls under the less-stringent limits set for CRI Green Label (no Plus) certification. The emission testing includes a limit for Total VOCs and limits for three specific VOCs. One of those is formaldehyde, known to cause cancer. That limit is 50 micrograms per square meter, compared to 30 micrograms per square meter under the CRI Green Label Plus certification.©
– Nancy Kibbee is editor at www.naturalinteriors.com.