I understand some laminate and wood flooring give off harmful formaldehyde gases.

How can I be certain my home is environmentally safe? Making your home a greener environment can be a challenge to your family, your community and the world. Home owners want to stay ahead and become well educated in to the latest developments in maintaining a safe and healthy environment for your familly. Recently the State of California became the first (and to date only) state to enact legislation limiting the off gas emission for formaldehyde and other harmful gases in laminate and engineered wood laminate flooring products, moldings, plywood underlayment, and other composite wood panel products. According to California state officials “In April 2007, the California Air Resources Board (CARB), a department of the California Environmental Protection Agency, voted to implement new limits for formaldehyde emitted from composite wood products. These new limits will be implemented in two phases starting January 1, 2009 and the final limits will be in place by 2012”. This legislation will effect the sale of flooring and other product in California and hopefully have a beneficial environmental effect on the 60 billion dollar flooring industry in United States by bringing the awareness of toxic gases in flooring products to the customers attention Up to the enactment of this legislation the Composite Panel Association established voluntary emission standards for their wood industry (for carpeting the www.carpet-rug.org also has voluntary standards). According to the Composite Panel Association web site www.pbmdf.com their general members include “40 of the leading manufacturers of particleboard, medium density fiberboard and hardboard. Together they represent nearly 95% of the total manufacturing capacity in US, Canada and Mexico. This Association certifies that the product meets the Composite Panel Association’s Environmentally Preferable Product (EPP) requirements (voluntary). The chart below outlines a comparison of formaldehyde stands used in Europe, Japan and the United States. Comparison of Worldwide Formaldehyde Standards for Composites (using equivalent U.S. large chamber test values) Standard European Japanese Japanese CPA CARB CARB E1 F★★★ F★★★★ EPP Phase I Phase II (2009) (2011) Maximum 0.14 0.09* 0.05* 0.20 0.18 0.09 Emission (PB) (PB) Level 0.21 0.11 (ppm) (MDF) (MDF) Source: Composite Panel Association

From these results you will note that the CPA EPP standard of .20 is four times higher and about the same as the new standards established under the recently announced California regulation. However, this level is still four times higher than the Japanese F4 standard of .05. In Europe their E1 emission standard has been in effect since 2004 and according to experts are moving to the more demanding E0 standard. It is also interesting to note that a great deal of the laminate and engineered wood flooring manufactured in China is certified to be E1 or better by independent third party laboratories. However the State of California has taken a positive step towards a safer environment on the home and hopefully other states will follow in the near future. For flooring buyers to be certain that the product is safe and environmentally friendly: Look for the E1 or E0 certification stamp on wood engineered and laminate flooring products. Another alternative is to look for lower grade CPA EPP stamp on similar products. In California look for product indicating that California Air Resource Board (CARB) or an accredited third party has certified the flooring product. For detailed information about the California formaldehyde regulation, visit CARB’s website at contact the Composite Panel Association (CPA) at http://www.arb.ca.gov/toxics/compwood/compwood.htm. In addition to these alternatives, Peter Rundle, the editor at www.greenerflooring.com suggests looking for with non-formaldehyde or nonurea-formaldehyde binders, for low VOC adhesives to adhere products to the floor, or better still use choose floating options. For laminate and wood products certified as E1 or E0, see Vencon USA LLC (www.venconusa.com), or Kronoswiss (www.kronoswiss.com) both use a patented glue less system and are certified by the Forest Stewardship Council as coming from well managed and sustainable forests.