Since 2006, Ambient Bamboo Floors has vountarily conducted annual safety testing for off-gassing of all of its flooring products. Ambient is one of the few, if not the only, flooring companies that regularly tests its products for safety every year. In October, Ambient received its 2019 formaldehyde off-gassing test results, and the results came back at “below the limit of quantification” at less than .05 ppm for the 13th straight year in a row. In fact, results this far below standard don’t even register on the tools used to measure formaldehyde off-gas. We hope you find comfort in knowing that since Ambient began testing in 2006, none of its bamboo flooring products has ever registered at a level considered even slightly toxic. Results almost always come back with off-gassing of effectively zero.
Ambient Flooring Safety Facts:
- Ambient floors fall within the CARB Phase 2 (California Air Resources Board) standard for indoor air quality. CARB Phase 1 and Phase 2 are part of California’s Composite Wood Products Regulation (CWP Regulation). Phase 1 took effect in 2009 to reduce formaldehyde emissions from composite wood products, hardwood, plywood, particleboard and medium density fiberboard (MDF). Phase 2 took effect in 2010 and lowered the formaldehyde emissions standard to .055 ppm.
- Ambient flooring products are FloorScore® certified. FloorScore® is the most recognized indoor air quality (IAQ) certification standard for hard surface flooring materials, adhesives, and underlayments. FloorScore certification was developed by SCS Global Services along with the Resilient Floor Covering Institute (RFCI), a leading industry trade association of flooring manufacturers.
- Ambient floors are all NAUF compliant (No Added Urea Formaldehyde). Urea-formaldehyde resin is a thermosetting synthetic resin made by compressing urea with formaldehyde, and it is commonly used with manufacturing wood flooring. Formaldehyde alone is considered a Volatile Organic Chemical (VOC). VOCs occur naturally in wood and bamboo, and when wood or bamboo is used to make furniture or other products, the gasses eventually leak out and into the air that we breathe. Europe, Japan, Canada, and some states in the U.S. have regulated the use of urea formaldehyde in composite wood products. In NAUF compliant materials and CARB Phase 2 compliant materials, naturally occurring levels of formaldehyde occur, but no added urea formaldehyde (NAUF) is used.
- Ambient floors all meet the USGBC (United Stated Green Building Council) standard for LEED IEQ Credit 4: Low-Emitting Materials. LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Efficient Design and was created by the United States Green Building Council (USGBC) in 1993. It has since become the world leader for designing green buildings.
What is Formaldehyde and is it harmful?
Formaldehyde is a chemical compound made of hydrogen, oxygen, and carbon. Every life form from bacteria to humans naturally produces formaldehyde as part of cell metabolism. According to the EPA, Formaldehyde exposure may potentially cause various health-related symptoms and adverse health effects such as irritation of the eyes, nose, throat, and skin in addition to coughing, wheezing, and allergic reactions. Formaldehyde is a naturally-occurring organic compound that exists in everything, including our breath and our cellular structure, so it’s virtually impossible to be “formaldehyde-free”.
What concerns most people is that long-term exposure to high levels of formaldehyde has been associated with cancer in humans and laboratory animals. People can get long-term exposure to formaldehyde through a variety of everyday household products such as glues, permanent press fabrics, paints and coatings, lacquers and finishes, and paper products. The more you use these types of products, the greater your risk for overexposure. Formaldehyde has also been linked to other commonly used products such as laundry and dish detergent, bath soaps and bath wash, gas stoves and kerosene space heaters, certain pet products, and hair straightening treatments.
It is also well known that Formaldehyde is found in the resin that is used to manufacture composite wood products (hardwood, plywood, particleboard), and other building materials.
Formaldehyde in Building Materials
With so much publicity about the danger of long-term exposure to formaldehyde and its presence in building materials, it’s no wonder people are concerned that their homes may put them at risk. Formaldehyde is used in the production of hundreds of products that many people use in everyday life. For example, formaldehyde-based resins are used to produce engineered wood products which in turn are used to build cabinetry, furniture, countertops, crown molding, baseboards, shelving, flooring, and many more items. Formaldehyde-based resins enable the wood products industry to repurpose wood waste that would otherwise be burned or sent to a landfill.
But the good news is that even though formaldehyde is used in creating many products we use every day, most often, very little of the formaldehyde compound remains in the final product. What’s more, Chemical Safety Facts says studies show that formaldehyde does not accumulate in people or animals because it is quickly broken down by the body’s natural metabolic processes. All the different kinds of formaldehyde uses are effectively regulated, and its government oversight has been extensive.
What is the flooring industry doing about formaldehyde exposure?
Even if formaldehyde poses only the slightest risk to human health, it is not something the flooring industry is taking lightly. It is why standards have been created by FloorScore and the California Air Resources Board, and it’s also why Ambient randomly tests all of our flooring products every year using independent third-party laboratories. Our employees, clients, families, and friends all live with our flooring, and we care about ensuring that our products are safe.