INDOOR AIR QUALITY
Have you ever been on the top a mountain and taken in those fresh gulps of air, as if your lungs were thirsting for it? Have you felt the sting of fresh air in your nostrils while doing so? Sadly, fresh and clean air is becoming a rare commodity and all the wealth in the world cannot buy it. Man is responsible in countless ways for the present state that we are in. Only clean air can maintain that delicate balance of life on this planet. High levels of pollutants are causing poor air quality that is endangering human health.
The air enclosed inside our homes can also be polluted, not only by pollutants from the outdoor but also from those emitted from an inside source. In fact, some kinds of air pollutants are worse indoor than outdoors, such as tobacco smoke, mold, chemicals released from synthetic fibers, furnishing and household products.
The Environmental Protection Agency ranks indoor air pollution among the top four environmental risks in America. People spend about 90% of their lives indoors, and pollution is consistently 2-5 times higher indoors than outdoors.
Indoor Air Quality has become an important health and safety concern in Canada too. According to the Environment Public Health Indoor Air Quality Manual of the Government of Alberta, in a 1996 survey 2 out of 3 Canadians said that their health had been affected by pollution and more than 1 out of 2 people were concerned about Air Quality. Recently Indoor Air Quality research has attracted the attention of the public and government as the quality of indoor air has become a significant health issue.
VOLATILE ORGANIC COMPOUNDS (VOC’s)
Indoor Air Quality is affected by pollutants like dust and dander to mold and chemical vapors emitted from building materials and furnishings.
Volatile Organic Compounds are such chemicals used to manufacture and maintain building materials, interior furnishings, cleaning products and personal care products. They are present in our homes a t a higher level than outdoors. Many VOCs are irritants causing headaches, eye, nose and throat irritation and dizziness. Long-term exposure may lead to cancer and some VOCs at a high concentration are toxic.
Some cleansers, disinfectants, waxes, glues, cosmetics, dry cleaning products, paints, varnishes and preservatives include VOCs. They are found in cigarettes, smokes and pesticides.
Household materials like new carpeting and draperies, also release VOCs.
When airborne particulates or chemicals like VOCs get released from common household products it is called off-gassing. Household items commonly release VOCs like Formaldehyde, benzene, ammonia and toluene.
According to Health Canada, a study conducted on Indoor Air Quality revealed that an adult Canadian spends 50% of their total time at home and 90% of the time indoors. Only 2% of their time is spent outdoors. As a result of these findings, IAQ health concerns have become a priority for federal, provincial and regional health authorities.
U. L. Environment, a business unit of Underwriter Laboratories acquired GreenGuard in 2011, further advancing its mission of promoting global sustainability, environmental health and safety. GreenGuard is an industry independent, third-party certification organization that qualifies products for low chemical emission.
Keeping their mission in view, GreenGuard Certification ensures that a product has met some of the world’s most rigorous and comprehensive standards for low emission of VOC’s (Volatile Organic Compounds)into indoor air. Defined product standards, test methodologies, product samples collection and handling procedures, program application processes and ongoing verification procedures are foolproof methods followed by them. It is an assurance that they make to us consumers that products designed for use in our homes have met strict emission limits to create a healthy environment for us. When a manufacturer receives a GreenGuard certificate, it gives credence to its claims of sustainability, backing them with empirical scientific data from an unbiased organization. This is increasingly valuable as the demands for healthier and more sustainable products have grown. Consumers will purchase more environmentally responsible products if the companies environmental and health claims can be believed.
A GreenGuard Gold certification indicates that a product has undergone more rigorous testing to make them suitable for use in schools, offices and other sensitive environments involving children and elderly people.
GreenGuard establishes acceptable indoor air standards for indoor products, environments and buildings. In case of window treatments, they test different fabrics to ensure that the products chemical and particle emissions meet accepted Indoor Air Quality pollutant guidelines and standards.
Graber products are an important component of Green living. Their blinds and shades are made from GreenGuard Indoor Air Quality certified materials with low chemical and particle emissions. Graber fabrics that are currently certified are Cirrus, Lucid and Haze styles.
According to the GreenGuard Indoor Air Quality standards for building materials, finishes and furnishings the allowable limits prescribed are
Total VOC’s < 0.5mg/m.cube
Formaldehyde < 0.05 ppm
Total Aldehydes < 0.1 ppm
Individual VOC’s Crown offers a vast collection of fabrics for Roller shades, Roman shades, Skylight Tension Shades and Sliding panels. All their screen fabrics are GreenGuard certified with many of them featuring the green qualities of Phifer’s Infinite 2.
UL’s SUSTAINABLE PRODUCT GUIDE
It helps purchasers identify products with sustainable attributes as well as find products that comply with building codes and purchasing guidelines.
LIST OF GRABER’S PRODUCTS IN THE SUSTAINABLE PRODUCT GUIDE
1” Classic Aluminum Horizontal Blinds
1” Insignia Aluminum Horizontal Blinds
1” Supreme Aluminum Horizontal Blinds
½” Micro Aluminum Blinds Horizontal Blinds
2” Grandeur Aluminum Horizontal Blinds
Lake Forest Faux Wood Blinds
Lake Forest Premium Faux Wood Blinds
LightWeaves Solar Shades – Cirrus, haze and Lucid
All these window treatments have a Green Guard Certification as well as a GreenGuard Gold certification.
On Zebrablinds.ca GreenGuard certified Graber’s 3%, 5% and 10% Exterior Solar Shades, as well as Crown’s Light Filtering Roller Shades and Light Filtering Solar shades, are available.
GreenGuard certification is an attribute to look for while choosing a window treatment. We should always consider the impact that the manufacturing process is having on the environment as well as its influence on the quality if Indoor air in our homes