In cooperation with the German Ministry of Health, the Federal Environmental Agency of Germany, has released updated indoor air emissions criteria for the coveted Blue Angel Eco-Label, making these criteria for office equipment with print functions among the most stringent in the marketplace for low-emitting products. “Print devices have the potential to release volatile organic compounds (VOCs), ozone, and particles during operation. These emissions must be kept as low as possible to maintain good indoor air quality and to protect the health of building occupants and employees,” said Marilyn S. Black, PhD, Chief Scientist with Air Quality Sciences Inc. (AQS), the only US laboratory accredited by Blue Angel for emissions testing. The new RAL 122 standard, which has been harmonized with the European Manufacturer’s Computer Association ECMA 328 standard, has acceptable emissions levels for total volatile organic compounds (TVOCs), ozone, benzene, styrene and airborne particles. All emitting individual VOCs must be reported. Key updates to the standard include:
-Application to color print machines as well as black and white
-First time acceptable emission levels for color printers and copiers
-Reduction of allowable ozone from 40 ppb to 30 ppb for black printing in an office setting, making it the most stringent ozone standard for office equipment and other indoor machines in the world
-New requirement to report Very Volatile VOCs (VVOCs)
The new standard requires testing of products in controlled, dynamic environmental chambers with temperature, humidity and airflow control. AQS pioneered the commercial application of environmental chamber testing technology more than 16 years ago and actively participated in establishing this methodology for testing office equipment through an EPA Environmental Technology Program. This testing methodology, which was further developed by consensus among various stakeholders and the US Environmental Protection Agency, has been adopted by the German Ministry of Health, the Greenguard Environmental Institute, and ECMA. Environmental chamber practices follow ASTM D 6670-01, Standard Practice for Full-Scale Chamber Determination of Volatile Organic Emissions from Indoor Materials/Products. “Because the GREENGUARD Certification Program accepts the RAL Standard 122 levels for low emitting printers, copiers and multifunctional devices, manufacturers may voluntarily choose to have their products certified or listed to meet the GREENGUARD standard as well as approved by Blue Angel. With AQS being the only accredited US laboratory to offer certification testing for both of these standards, manufacturers and users of office equipment now have a tremendous opportunity to use one lab to ensure products are meeting global requirements,” Dr. Black said. Air Quality Sciences, Inc. is a fully integrated indoor air quality (IAQ) company that provides solutions to create healthy indoor environments and avoid potentially dangerous indoor pollution. As the only IAQ firm with internal labs that are both ISO 9001:2000 registered and AIHA EMLAP accredited, AQS sets the standard for effective diagnoses and solutions. AQS also is a test laboratory for both the GREENGUARD Environmental Institute and the Blue Angel Labeling programs, which provide independent, third party certification for low-emitting products used indoors.