PROSOCO’s Regulatory Affairs Director Dwayne Fuhlhage offers this look into the indoor air quality certification process for some of our most important products for finished concrete flooring.
by Dwayne Fuhlhage, CHMM
Regulatory Affairs Director
It’s always nice to get some end of the year tasks completed.
Scientific Certification Systems (SCS) just issued our 2011 certificate for indoor air quality covering finished concrete flooring products Consolideck LS, LS/CS, LS Guard, GemTone Stain and ColorHard.
SCS is a major, independent third-party certification organization with a suite of programs including Home Depot’s Eco Options review.
The Indoor Advantage Gold certification validates emissions testing under the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) Specification 01350 small chamber standard method. Testing qualifies products for contribution towards California Collaborative for High Performance Schools (CHPS) and LEED for Schools EQ credit.
PROSOCO takes it another step farther by paying SCS to help assure specifiers that our testing is accurate and we’re putting the same products out into the marketplace. We have to inform SCS anytime we have formulation changes or substantial raw material substitutions in addition to having an auditor visit our manufacturing facility in Lawrence on a regular basis.
PROSOCO utilizes an independent laboratory, Berkeley Analytical Associates, for emissions testing services. Berkeley is a great organization to work with. They know the protocols inside and out; in fact, their staff played a leadership role in creation of the original CDPH standard practice.
For our annual retest, we submitted a concrete sample prepped for Consolideck ColorHard application along with containers of Consolideck LS and enough ColorHard pigment blend to replicate field dilution ratios. Most importantly, we maxed out each pigment in the system to replicate a worst-case emissions scenario that covers any standard color. Most coatings are tested as tint bases without added colorants.
ColorHard passed with no surprises.
We had a low ppb (parts per billion) reading for ethylene glycol used by one of our suppliers to keep their pigment dispersions from freezing during transport. I am encouraged by the fact that nothing else showed up in testing. Our suppliers have been accurate in their ingredient disclosures to us.
So, what’s next for our SCS certification program?
That’s driven by a couple of factors. As much as we would like to have every interior-use product tested, the costs are significant and have to be supported by individual product sales volume. Essentially, success in the marketplace allows us to make the investment.
We also have to be sure the product functions well in the field and that we’re ahead of the curve on AIM VOC regulatory system developments. We always try to get it right the first time, but we learn a lot as contractors apply products to large floors and adjust formulations to make sure we’re actually making products that contribute to the longevity of the substrate.
PROSOCO was the first company to invest in emissions testing for concrete finish products. I’ve been encouraged that specifiers are educating themselves about testing and certification programs. I think this approach represents a significant part of the coatings industries’ future.
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