News Brief

NSF 336 Sustainable Fabric Standard Now Final

July 1, 2011

By Jennifer Atlee

A new standard for commercial fabrics is now final, creating the newest addition to a growing set of category-specific multi-attribute sustainability standards (see “What’s New in Multi-Attribute Product Certifications,” EBN Dec. 2010).

Modeled after other sustainability standards developed by NSF International, such as the standard behind BIFMA’s Level certification, NSF/ANSI 336: Sustainability Assessment for Commercial Furnishings Fabric is a tiered, multi-attribute standard developed through the ANSI consensus process. The standard, developed in partnership with GreenBlue and the Association for Contract Textiles, can be applied to a variety of fabrics used in public or commercial buildings, including woven, non-woven, bonded, and knitted fabrics used for upholstery, drapery, wall coverings, panel system fabrics, and bedding.

The fabric standard uses a 100-point system, with half of the points relating to composition and covering sourcing and safety of materials. The other half cover manufacture and company performance, with significant attention paid to chemical concerns. While there are international certifications for fabrics, including Oeko-Tex 100, this is the first U.S. sustainability standard for this product category, and it represents significant progress for an industry with significant toxicity concerns due to fabric processing and finishes.

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