News Analysis

NSF Wallcovering Standard Papers Over Vinyl Problems

Nearly a thousand wallcovering styles have already achieved conformance or Silver certification under NSF/ANSI 342–2012: Sustainability Assessment for Wallcovering Products—and 99% of them are conventional vinyl. The other 1% are thermoplastic olefin, or TPO. Some in the industry have suggested the standard is little more than greenwashing—among them Cliff Goldman, president of Carnegie Fabrics and a longtime critic of PVC use.

“It’s a joke,” remarked Goldman candidly. “That’s really a black eye for NSF. It’s another way for a trade organization to go to its buying community and say, ’Hey, all our products pass the NSF so-and-so!’” (See “Nine Types of Greenwashing.”) The apparent weakness of the standard is particularly surprising coming from NSF, which is known for several reputable multi-attribute sustainability standards for materials.

Published March 3, 2014