News Analysis

California Releases Data on Indoor Emissions

The categories of products in this study were acoustical ceiling panels, carpeting, fiberboard, gypsum board, paints, particleboard, plastic laminates, resilient flooring (rubber and non-rubber-based), tackable wall panels, thermal insulation, and wall base. Of the 77 products tested, 34 were identified as “standard” materials and 43 as “alternative.” In most cases the alternative materials were products with high recycled content, but a few were selected for other attributes, including fiberglass insulation with no added formaldehyde (presumably from Johns Manville) and paints marketed as “zero-VOC.”

The testing was done according to protocols from California’s Section 01350 specification, which requires that projected concentrations of indoor contaminants be estimated based on the actual amount of a material that is to be used in the space (the “loading”) and on ventilation levels. In order to report on compliance with the spec without reference to a particular building, standard loading and ventilation rates were developed for two typical spaces: an office building and a classroom. The office building conditions, which are less densely occupied than classrooms and therefore have less ventilation, were more demanding—28 products failed to meet the Section 01350 conditions for offices, but only 18 failed for classrooms.

Published February 1, 2004

(2004, February 1). California Releases Data on Indoor Emissions. Retrieved from