Low VOC Carpets Explained: What to Look for and How to Find Them

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Sustainability concerns have led to efforts to promote carpet recycling and more sustainable carpet materials. These endeavours include attempts to lower the emission of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from carpets. We take a look at the benefits of a low VOC carpet, how to find one and what a low VOC emission carpet actually means.

The benefits of a low VOC carpet

Due to the heightened interest in indoor environmental quality, many carpet manufacturers now design their carpets to significantly reduce VOC emissions, if not eliminate them altogether.

The attraction of these low VOC carpets is that they do not cause the concerns commonly associated with high VOC emitting carpets, such as: 

  • Unpleasant odour;
  • Eye, nose and throat irritation;
  • Headaches, loss of coordination, nausea and fatigue;
  • Breathing problems and allergy irritations;
  • Damage to liver, kidney and central nervous system; and
  • Potential exposure to cancer causing properties.

They are infinitely safer for workers to install and have the effect of reducing air pollution and improving indoor air quality.

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Low VOC carpet certification: How to find a low VOC carpet

Eurofins Indoor Air Comfort Gold Certification is your best assurance that your carpet fulfills low product emissions requirements. This certification is issued by Eurofins, an international group of independent testing laboratories headquartered in Luxembourg. 

Gold certification is the higher of two certificates and it shows additional compliance of product emissions with the criteria issued by most relevant ecolabels. Its certified products, therefore, are those with the best-in-class low emissions.

The requirements on VOC emissions of the following programs are all covered in the Gold certification:

(* product specific)

A carpet with a ‘green certification’ is not necessarily a low VOC carpet. It may be made with renewable materials in a resource-efficient way yet still have high VOC emission levels.

Learn more about the things you need to look for in carpets, when it comes to sustainability.

What is a low VOC carpet?

A low VOC carpet is one that has been manufactured to reduce the emission of VOCs from all its constituent components – the pile, backing and adhesives. It will, therefore, avoid the use of materials that can lead to the release of gases and vapours, such as PVC, rubber backings and bonding agents.

A carpet with that ‘new carpet’ smell is often an indication of VOC emissions, or off-gassing, as it is known. These are released especially when a new carpet is installed. Some VOCs are non-hazardous, while others may be harmful to the environment, indoor air quality and human health.

Conclusion

For those concerned about the air quality and potential health impacts of VOC emissions from their carpets, there are now many low VOC carpet options to choose from. The Gold standard of the Indoor Air Comfort Certification is the benchmark of VOC emissions standards, covering many other labeling and rating systems. So be sure your carpet choice meets this certification when determining VOC emissions levels.

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Written by Mette Frydensbjerg Jacobsen: Mette is ege carpets' fashion savvy communications expert. Her keen eye for the sweet spot between beautiful carpets and great stories makes her our favourite pick for inspiring you with Project of the Month.

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