June 19, 2008



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California Air Resources Board (CARB) Regulates Ozone Emissions from Air Cleaners

When you hear the word 'ozone,' you may think of the ozone layer or outdoor air. However, ozone can be both inside and outside. Ozone is a very reactive compound that is easily generated in hazardous concentrations by air passing through an electrostatic field. In air cleaning, ozone is used to remove odors from odor-causing volatile organic compounds (VOCs) while leaving a fresh, clean smell like after a thunderstorm. Research has shown, however, that ozone as an air cleaner or purifier is not particularly effective and in fact can be hazardous to health (Underhill 2000). Also see the USEPA web page - Ozone Generators that are Sold as Air Cleaners (www.epa.gov/iaq/pubs/ozonegen.html <http://www.epa.gov/iaq/pubs/ozonegen.html>) for summaries of additional studies regarding the effectiveness of ozone-generating air cleaners.

Ozone is a very strong lung irritant, which can result or exacerbate respiratory disease. It can react with VOCs to produce additional VOCs such as aldehydes, which have a more unpleasant odor, are far more irritating, and can be more toxic than other VOCs in the indoor air. Further, unreacted ozone at low concentrations around 120 ppb (0.12 ppm) can cause eye irritation, visual disturbances, headaches, dizziness, dry mouth and throat, chest tightness and coughing. Several health standards address levels of ozone, but these apply to occupational and healthcare settings - not residences. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), for example, requires ozone output of indoor medical devices to be no more than 50 ppb (0.05 ppm). The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires that workers not be exposed to an average concentration of more than 100 ppb (0.10 ppm) for 8 hours, and the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) recommends an upper limit of 100 ppb (0.10 ppm), not to be exceeded at any time. The US EPA National Ambient Air Quality Standard for ozone is a maximum 8-hour average outdoor concentration of 75 ppb (0.075 ppm).

In September 2007, CARB approved a regulation to limit the concentration of ozone emissions from indoor air cleaning devices. Manufacturers must have compliant products on the store shelves within two years of the regulation effective date or risk losing retail shelf space and perhaps face citations and fines for noncompliance. Compliance is demonstrated by having their products tested by a nationally recognized testing laboratory to the revised edition of UL 867, the Standard for Safety of Electrostatic Air Cleaners. Updated with input from the CARB, manufacturers and other stakeholders, UL 867 incorporates process changes to increase accuracy and repeatability of testing. The regulation is expected to become effective in August 2008.

To support its recommendation not to use air cleaners that generate ozone, CARB conducted studies on ozone generating air cleaners that were widely marketed in California. Tests were conducted in a small room furnished with a desk and chair, under temperature, humidity and air exchange conditions common in homes. The devices were operated according to manufacturers' instructions, with a few adjustments due to facility limitations. The results showed that all of the models tested produced room concentrations that exceeded health-based standards. Some produced room concentrations that substantially exceeded both the California Ambient Air Quality Standards (CAAQS) of 90 ppb (0.09 ppm), one-hour average and the 70 ppb (0.07 ppm), eight-hour average, for ozone. They also exceeded the US Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) standard of 50 ppb (0.05 ppm) that applies to medical devices; devices for which the manufacturers make health-related claims. In addition, one unit exceeded the 70 ppb CAAQS and the USFDA standard of 50 ppb when set at a medium setting (ozone output for a 1,000 square foot area). This unit was not tested at its highest setting, but has been shown in other studies to produce room levels over 300 ppb (0.3 ppm) at its highest settings. Measurements at the face level and emission test results correlated reasonably well with the room concentration results.

The report concluded that the use of ozone generators in enclosed spaces presents a serious public health risk from exposure to ozone and its toxic byproducts. The use of such devices in close proximity to people cannot be justified based on any purported air cleaning or germicidal properties of ozone. Even if operated according to manufacturer's instructions, the safe operation of these devices by the general public cannot be ensured, especially those devices that have extremely high emission rates for ozone.

Additional efforts are underway to put pressure on manufacturers of ozone-generating air cleaners by educating the public about these products and introducing legislation barring ozone generating air cleaners from being manufactured and sold. For example, Consumer Reports recently published a comprehensive article that not only rated 30 room air cleaners models, but also clearly stated the dangers of ozone and listed four air cleaners that were not recommend, citing that they exceeded the Underwriters Laboratory (UL) standard.

This regulation is the first of its kind, controlling emissions from products used and operated in the indoor environment. California also has passed regulation on formaldehyde emissions from manufactured woods like particleboard and hardwood paneling. As these requirements become mandatory, not optional, the source control movement for protecting the indoor air quality within takes an important leap forward.

For more information, read the complete report on air cleaning on www.aerias.org.

Update from NeoCon

At the NeoCon World's Trade Fair last week in Chicago, design and architect professionals came together to promote the latest trends in interior design. Among the exhibitors were more than 50 manufacturers that participate in the GREENGUARD certification programs, signifying remarkable growth in GREENGUARD certified products over the past year. Congratulations to these companies for their committment to healthy sustainable products.

3 Form 3M Workspace Solutions

AIS, Inc.

Amtico International Artco-Bell Corporation

Benjamin Moore & Co.

Bernhardt Design Bernhardt Textiles Bretford
Draper, Inc. DuPont Surfaces ESI Ergonomic Solutions, Inc.
Evolve Furniture Group Faus Group, Inc. Fixtures Furniture
Garrett Leather Corp. Global-Total Office Groupe LaCasse
Harter Haworth, Inc. HBF & HBF Textiles
Herman Miller Humanscale ICI Paints
Inscape Instant Seating (SOI) izzydesign
Keilhauer KI & Companies Kimball Office Furniture
Knoll Koroseal/Vicrtex Wallcoverings Krug
Laticrete International Loewenstein Contract Lonseal Flooring
Maharam The Mayline Group MDC Wallcoverings
Milliken Carpet Neutral Posture, Inc. Nightingale
Nora Rubber Flooring Okamura Corp. Panolam Industries
SitOnIt Seating Smith System Stylex
Tayco PaneLink Ltd. Teknion LLC Veritas
Walllcovering Source/Lanark Wilsonart International, Inc. Zoom Seating (A Jami, Inc. Co.)


GREENGUARD Environmental Institute often serves as a resource for publications and media outlets, providing information on various topics that relate to product emissions and indoor air quality. The following represent recent articles and features.

Washington Post
A Solution to the Particleboard Problem

ThinkCentre M57/M57P Ultra Small Desktop PC With Greenguard Certification

Brooklyn Children's Museum Wins 2008 Spectrum Award from Coverings

"Stone World"
The May 2008 issue mentions GREENGUARD on page 166 for Santa Margherita's quartz surfacing.

"Interior Design"
GREENGUARD is mentioned on pages 8-10, 20 in the the GREEN PAGES section of the NeoCon issue of Interior Design

To read these and past articles, visit the Press Room/Articles under the 'About GEI' tab of our website. Read More...

Upcoming Events

In the next few months, GREENGUARD Environmental Institute (GEI) will participate in several events. For more information, please visit the Events tab listed under 'About GEI.'

Louisville Society for Coatings Technology (Speaking)
Louisville, KY/June 20th, 2008

Guardian Summer Show 2008 (Speaking)
Atlanta, GA/June 23rd - 24th, 2008

Greenbuild Expo 2008 (Speaking and Exhibiting)
Boston, MA/November 19th - 21st 2008

For a snapshot of GEI's 2008 events, click on 2008 Calendar under the About GEI/Events tab. We will continue to update this information, and appreciate any feedback from you.

Continuing Education

GREENGUARD Environmental Institute (GEI) is proud to be a recognized USGBC Education Provider, and provides numerous Continuing Education Courses related to indoor air quality principles.

Healthy Indoor Air by Design
Credits: AIA (1LU), IDCEC (0.1 CEU), CSI (1-ECH), USGBC
Clearing the Air on IAQ: Making Sense of IAQ Standards and IEQ Requirements
Credits: AIA (1LU), IDCEC (0.1 CEU), CSI (1-ECH)
Building Blocks for Healthy Indoor Air
Credits: AIA (1LU), IDCEC (0.1CEU), USGBC
Design to Prevent the Damaging Effects of Mold
Credits: AIA (1LU), CSI (1-ECH)

GEI is taking their Health, Safety and Human Welfare courses on the road to architecture and design firms, industry meetings, campuses and manufacturer showrooms across the country. If your firm or group is interested in learning more about these courses, please send a request to education@greenguard.org.

© 2008 GREENGUARD Environmental Institute