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June 15, 2015

Formaldehyde Emission Testing of Small Field-Collected Flooring Samples

Berkeley Analytical now tests laminate flooring and engineered wood flooring for their emissions of formaldehyde using micro-scale chambers. This service is designed for industrial hygienists conducting field investigations. The small sample size consisting of a circle 2.5 inch in diameter allows samples to be easily collected in out of the way locations such as closets and under furniture items.

Typically, laminate and engineered wood flooring are tested for likely compliance to the CARB ATCM to control formaldehyde emissions from composite wood products using the ASTM D6007  test method in combination with the CARB SOP for finished goods test specimen preparation. Although the required sample size is relatively small, it is more material than many building owners are willing to deconstruct. Micro-scale chambers offer a solution because they operate on the same principles as small-scale chambers, but the chamber volume is less than 200 cm3. This allows a flooring sample to be obtained using a hole saw that cuts a circle with an outer diameter of 6.4 cm (2.5 inch). This sample can do double duty as formaldehyde emissions from the composite wood core and from the finished surface can be measured on the same sample. Micro-scale chambers are operated as described in ASTM Standard Practice D7706. The laboratory results are presented as formaldehyde emission factors. Measurement of emission factors from the core can be used to address the question of likely compliance with the CARB ATCM by comparison with the corresponding ATCM values published in Berkeley Analytical white paper, Test Methods for Measuring Formaldehyde Emissions from Laminate Flooring. Formaldehyde emitted by the finished surface addresses the potential impact of the flooring on formaldehyde air concentrations. The reported emission factor can be used to estimate the air concentration by simple mass balance using the installed flooring area and an estimate of the ventilation air flow rate. Contact Berkeley Analytical at info@berkeleyanalytical.com or call us at 510-2236-2325 (toll free 888-455-0999) to arrange for testing of flooring and building products for emissions of formaldehyde.

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