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What does it take to be GREENGUARD certified and what does it mean for your furniture?

Mitch Avatar By: Mitch | Last updated October 31, 2022

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Nowadays, there is a big push for having eco-friendly products for consumers to lessen carbon emissions. Aside from its benefits for slowing the progress of global warming, it also leads to healthier choices for users for food, vehicles, and furniture. This is especially important as regular production of these contributes a lot to the growing pollution in the planet every year. With every purchase of eco-friendly products, users are encouraging big companies to go green and shift towards a more sustainable and healthy production process. 

We have done a lot of reviews of different types of furniture, but one of the most important things that we have found in testing is the importance of what the products are made of. Very often the lesser the price, the lower the quality of the materials used. This isn't the case 100% of the time, but it is something to keep in mind as there is no price you can put on your health. So please, before you buy anything online make sure you check out who makes the products and what other users have thought about the product. This includes everythin in the world, not just furniture but as this is an in depth review of what GreenGuard is we will look at it as in depth as possible. 

What is GREENGUARD certification?

GREENGUARD is an independent organization that is aimed towards ensuring that consumers can receive products that are safe to use in terms of its contribution to indoor air quality. Founded in 2001, the organization continues to promote their advocacy by giving certifications to products that are proven to be safe from harmful chemicals. As of 2011, the organization has become part of Underwriters Laboratories or UL. They continue to promote healthy products that can ensure consumer’s health while producing low emissions during factory creation which makes their certified products a must-have for all consumers, especially environmentally conscious ones. 

How do products get certified?

In order to be certified, the companies need to undergo rigorous testing from representatives of GREENGUARD. During testing, the level of emissions that they produce in their companies along with the chemicals used for producing their products will be thoroughly studied. The products included in their certification process are furniture, electronics, cleaning products, and medical products, all of which have records of potentially using harmful chemicals that may harm indoor air quality when unchecked. Once certified, these companies can proudly promote their products with the certification for users to be thoroughly informed when choosing.

GREENGUARD Gold Certification

An even rigorous test is required for companies who want to be awarded with GREENGUARD Gold Certification. This is because it is only awarded for products that are safe to use near children and in places where they frequently stay in such as schools and daycares. This is especially important for school and nursery furniture which children use frequently. Because of this, the list of chemicals which are not allowed to be used with the furniture is further extended to ensure that they will be healthy to use near children.

What are examples of the chemicals that the furniture should not contain?

For furniture, it is a given that certain materials should be expected such as wood, adhesives, dyes, and paints. It is usually in these materials where the harmful chemicals can be found especially if the company is prone to cutting costs for cheaper yet toxic alternatives.

First, the foam used for mattresses and couches may have flame retardants on them which are a known harmful chemical once it starts to evaporate into the air. It can cause problems with the thyroid, the endocrine, and can even be a cause of cancer. This is why it is illegal to use in some countries. Still, some companies may still be using it which is why it is important to have a GREENGUARD certification to ensure that the product does not have this.

Next is the use of vinyl for baby mattresses. This is usually used because of its waterproof quality which makes it usable even when spills happen. However, these are known to sometimes begin cracking and making holes in the mattress, making bodily fluids from babies pour into the foam which then makes the baby mattress unhygienic to use.  Aside from this, its surface is also not breathable which may lead to rashes to the baby’s sensitive skin.

Chemicals such as formaldehyde and epoxies may also be used for adhesives for wooden furniture. They can also be found in some dyes and paints. These are a known cause of asthma, cancer, and development disorders when inhaled in dangerous amounts. If the furniture in the house is filled with this, they can expect their indoor air quality to be more toxic than outside. Eco-friendly companies use water-based and natural adhesives and dyes as a solution for this.

Which furniture should be prioritized for eco-friendliness?

Going all-natural for your furniture may be an expensive but worthy investment. If possible, it is advised to purchase whole sets from companies that offer GREENGUARD certified products for you to be sure of the indoor air quality of your home. 

For specifics, the first furniture to be ensured to be eco-friendly is the baby crib. Given that babies’ breathing and immune systems are still developing, it is important to ensure that they will not be exposed to any harmful chemicals to ensure that their development will not be affected.

Aside from this, users should also ensure that furniture they frequently use such as beds, sofas, and the likes will be eco-friendly. 

What are the benefits of purchasing a GREENGUARD certified furniture?

Furniture that is eco-friendly may be more expensive compared to standard furniture but are good investments in the long term. 

First, these furniture are ensured to have a high-quality in terms of durability and sturdiness. These products are made of 100% wood instead of synthetic ones which are mixed with plastic for more affordability. The trees cut for this are also replaced to ensure that it will have minimal impact to the atmosphere.

Aside from this, users are given a wide variety of designs that are inspired by minimalist trends. With the various wooden patterns mixed with simple yet sleek lines, users can easily pair these with any room because of its timeless design.  And as always, if you want some more updates and guides make sure you check out our ever updating articles and reviews.