Intertek’s Certification Program
Regulatory agencies and the furniture industry have made an effort to measure and reduce the levels of harmful chemicals emitted from furniture products. Third party testing and certification helps maintain compliance by measuring and maintaining certain maximum VOC emission concentrations. Intertek is a leading quality solutions provider to industries worldwide, from auditing and inspections, to testing, training, advisory, quality assurance, and certification. It supports companies’ success and helps its customers to meet end users’ expectations for safety, sustainability, performance, integrity, and desirability in virtually any market. Intertek’s ETL Environmental VOC Certification Program demonstrates that Indiana Furniture’s products conform to the ANSI/BIFMA Furniture Emissions Standards (M7.1/X7.1-2011) for Office Furniture Systems and Components that include emission and testing criteria with specific methodology for VOCs.
What are VOCs and how are they measured?
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) are chemical compounds primarily composed of carbon, oxygen, and hydrogen which have the ability to vaporize at room temperature. VOCs are emitted from synthetic materials such as fabrics, particle board, foams, plastics, and adhesives. In an indoor environment, VOCs can lead to occupant, short and long term negative health effects. According to Prop 65, some VOCs are hazardous chemicals and are known to cause cancer, birth defects, or other reproductive harm. Product VOC emission testing includes the use of a controlled container where the VOCs emissions from the air are collected using adsorption and absorption technology. They are either desorbed, separated into individual components, and analyzed using gas chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry, or they are derivatized and analyzed by high performance liquid chromatography. These processes allow for accurate results showing the amount and concentrations of the VOCs that are present in the product.
Testing Standards and Regulations
The Business and Industrial Furniture Manufactures Association (BIFMA) develops voluntary product and industry standards that support safe, healthy, and sustainable environments on behalf of the furniture industry. BIFMA released the first draft of the ANSI/BIFMA M7.1 standard and the ANSI/BIFMA X7.1 standard in June 2005. A final ANSI approval was given in 2011 for both standards. The ANSI/BIFMA X7.1-2011 is a standard that recognizes furniture VOC emission concentrations, including Formaldehyde and Aldehydes, from newly manufactured products; while the ANSI/BIFMA M7.1 standard defines the acceptance VOC emission criteria. Compliance can be determined when furniture products are tested in accordance with ANSI/BIFMA M7.1 Standard Test Method for Determining VOC Emissions from Office Furniture Systems, Components, and Seating. It specifies accepted VOC emission levels for individual compounds and total VOCs for low-emitting furniture products that have been selected for the purpose of product certification. Often on GSA bid specifications, you will see a requirement to conform to the ANSI/BIFMA X7.1 standard. Intertek has ISO 17025 and a2La accredited laboratories to conduct the testing to the ANSI/BIFMA M7.1-2011 test method for office furniture to determine VOC emission concentrations. The results will then be evaluated to the ANSI/BIFMA X7.1 Standard acceptance criteria. The ETL Environmental VOC certification is a 3 year certification program.
Resources + Downloads
Product Certificates (Grouped by ETL Environmental Categories)