What’s on the news
Growing demand for healthier prints and decoration in home, retail establishments, hospitality and medical applications, and the current confusion in the market in regards to different decoration solutions, has encouraged UL –leading certification agency for indoor air quality- to add clarity to their Greenguard certificates.
The additional information clarifies the restrictions of the different solutions clarifying the confusion, and reassuring Latex as the enabler of unlimited indoor applications.
Why is important
All of us face a variety of risks to our health as we go about our day-to-day lives. Driving in cars, flying in planes, engaging in recreational activities... Some risks are simply unavoidable but some are risks we might decide to avoid if we had the opportunity to make informed choices. Indoor air pollution is one risk that you can do something about. Especially when reports show that we are spending more approximately 90% of the time indoors.
Indoor pollution (that can be 2-5 times higher compared to outdoors pollution1) comes derived from human activity, mold and bacteria, and VOC (Volatile organic coumpounds) emitted by building products, furniture and decoration. With the focus on building’s energy efficiency, that improves isolation and tends to lower ventilation, the indoor air quality is even more penalized.
Reports agree2 that exposure to those indoor air pollutants shows a broad range of health effects. From long term serious health effects (like increased risk of cancer), to more immediate effects contributing to eye, nose or throat irritation, cough, headache, and fatigue symptoms (which are often called sick building syndrome).
The growing scientific consensus, together with the expansion of the green building movement in consumers, brands and governments, has brought increased awareness and the desire for improving or maintaining indoor air quality during building design, decoration and renewal. Designers, constructors and general consumers are seeking transparency from recognized eco-marks to specify and select their products for more comfortable and healthier indoor solutions.
UL, as the leading US certification agency, developed GREENGUARD certification with the aim of helping reduce indoor air pollution and the risk of chemical exposure, and to create a healthier indoor environment. This certification is used to obtain points for Green Bulinding certifications like LEED or BREEM.
Until now, the same mark and certificate was used to certify all the different printing applications, creating some confusion amongst print buyers, as the certificate itself was not self-explanatory. Some printer manufacturers added more confusion when wrongly claim that all the GreenGuard certified products were equally friendly for indoor applications.
As there were significant difference on performance for the different inks, UL added a clear information in the certificates about the restrictions for use of the prints. These restrictions cover 3 different categories of products:
-Signage (restricting the use to small signs)
-Decorative Wall (restricting to decorating just one wall in a room)
-Wallpaper (unrestricted applications)
With the current certificates, customers can now differentiate performance, and clearly express what the prints can be used for.
When reviewing current landscape of certified products, HP Latex continues to stand-out as one of the few options that allow indoor printing applications without restrictions. Also is one of the few that also certifies the combined solution of ink and substrate, for complete peace of mind.
If you are planning to buy a new machine…. Would you start with restrictions to address the attractive indoor decoration market?
For more details see UL article clarifying the product usage assumptions of printing inks in indoor applications:
The Devil is in the Details – UL GREENGUARD Certificates Include Important Information about Product Usage Assumptions http://industries.ul.com/blog/the-devil-is-in-the-details-ul-greenguard-certificates-include-importa...
1 US Environmental Protection Agency report on Volatile Organic Compounds impact on Indoor air quality phttps://www.epa.gov/indoor-air-quality-iaq/volatile-organic-compounds-impact-indoor-air-quality
2The Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory’s (LBNL’s) Indoor Air Quality Scientific Findings Resource Bank, sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, has a variety of readable, brief summaries on IAQ issues as well as key definitions.
This article has been written by @HP-CarlosL