Blue Angel: Good air quality

Airing indoor rooms is an especially important issue in the winter because it also has an impact on energy usage. It is even more critical if the air has been additionally polluted by other factors.

Dr. Frank Brozowski: Furniture – especially when it is made of wood or wood-based materials – can be a significant source of the pollutants found in indoor air and emit these pollutants into the air over a long period of time. This can cause symptoms such as tiredness, exhaustion, headaches or eye irritation. Wood and wood-based materials are often the source of emissions for many organic substances such as acetic acid or formaldehyde.

Highly polluted air in the office or at home is something that nobody needs. But is it possible to completely avoid pollutants?

Dr. Frank Brozowski: Unfortunately, there are no products that are 100 percent free of pollutants and emissions. It is sensible, however, to already look out for those products that are low in pollutants and emissions when making a purchase. Incidentally, this does not only apply to furniture. The Blue Angel can provide you with useful guidance when purchasing products. Furniture made of wood and wood-based materials with this ecolabel must comply with strict limits during standardised emission tests for e.g. formaldehyde and many other organic compounds.

In order to receive the ecolabel, manufacturers not only have to avoid the use of certain substances during production but also have to take a holistic approach to their work.

Dr. Frank Brozowski: The so-called Basic Award Criteria contain a comprehensive range of requirements. Of course, manufacturers must ensure that all of the processed wood originates from legal sources. In addition, a large proportion of the wood – at least 70 percent in future – must be sourced from sustainably managed forests. To ensure that the products can be recycled and disposed of properly, manufactures are prohibited from using a whole range of substances such as halogenated organic compounds and environmentally harmful flame retardants.