Green Seal to ban any paints or coatings containing PFAs from its certification standard

11 October 2023

Green Seal will prohibit any per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in Green Seal-certified paints and coatings, floor care products, adhesives and degreasers, further strengthening Green Seal’s leadership to address these harmful “forever chemicals.”

Green Seal-certified products already are leaders in material health, meeting one of the highest benchmarks for safety and environmental protection in the marketplace. Because of Green Seal’s stringent criteria, certified paints and coatings qualify toward points for both the LEED Low-Emitting Materials credit and the LEED v4.1 Material Ingredient Optimization credit, making Green Seal’s certification standard one of a select few to achieve this recognition.

Green Seal’s standards have long prohibited long-chain PFAS formally classified as hazardous. However, a growing body of evidence indicates that short-chain PFAS have the same harmful health and environmental effects as the legacy PFAS they are replacing. Green Seal will update its standards for paints and coatings, floor care products, adhesives, and degreasers to prohibit all approximately 12,000 chemicals in this class.

PFAS are frequently used as functional ingredients in these product categories. A recent study found that half of tested paint products contain PFAS, which may be used for glossiness, to reduce peeling, or for stain resistance or water repellency. Most acrylic and wax floor finishes on the market contain PFAS as leveling and wetting agents, and PFAS are also used to increase wettability in adhesives or the reduce flammability in cleaning and degreasing agents.


View from the US: Don’t look now, but PFAS is EVERYWHERE!

Green Seal’s proposed updates to its standards for these product categories follows the non-profit’s prohibition of all PFAS in certified cleaning and personal care products last year. Green Seal is taking a phased approach to implementing PFAS prohibitions to ensure its standards effectively address manufacturing and use considerations that vary by product category, including exposure pathways, functional performance and regrettable substitutes.

“Both producers and buyers know the hazards of PFAS but lack reliable ways to ensure products are free of these toxic chemicals,” says Doug Gatlin, CEO of Green Seal. “Green Seal’s standard criteria will eliminate PFAS throughout the product formula supply chain while maintaining performance requirements, so buyers can choose safer, healthier and effective products with confidence.”

In addition to its certification programmes, Green Seal has partnered with material-health leader HPDC to become an approved preparer and third-party verifier of Health Product Declarations (HPDs).  Whether or not a product is certified, Green Seal can prepare an HPD report for it to increase ingredient transparency while also maintaining critical trade secrets, and to assure that the product counts toward the LEED v4.1 Material Ingredient credit.

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