Floor Covering Adhesives and Indoor Air Quality
Adhesive manufacturers have joined the building industry's efforts in improving indoor air quality. The challenge, however, lies in delivering the same level of adhesive performance expected from time-tested solvent-containing formulations, while at the same time adhering to guidelines set by the EPA for improved indoor air quality.
Meeting changing safety demands and guidelines is nothing new for the adhesives industry. Since the majority of floor covering adhesives are used to glue down carpet and felt-backed sheet goods, these adhesives were the first to be made solvent-free. However, some floor covering adhesives for carpet and sheet goods are still being produced with solvent-containing chemicals.
As solvent-containing adhesives cure (dry), they produce gases known as volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which in concentrated form can prove harmful to indoor air quality.
Further safety guidelines were set for adhesive manufacturers in 1990 when the Southern California South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) established are regulations for VOC limits for floor covering adhesives and other common building products. Known as Rule 1168, the SCAQMD guideline set a maximum content of 150 grams/liter for floor covering adhesives, using the method of dividing the weight of the solvent in the adhesive by the volume of the material, less water.
Although Rule 1168 is applicable only to the SCAQMD district, adhesive manufacturers have adopted its regulations in producing new, lower VOC adhesives.