EPA Reveals Environmental and Sustainable Technology Evaluations Project for Microbial Resistant Building Products

Date: Jan 19, 2012

Manufacturers have responded to public demand for products that can resist mold growth in the indoor environment, but there is no nationally accepted testing and verification program to guide consumers and building professionals on how to select or specify the best building products for their needs. To help fill this need, EPA created the Environmental and Sustainable Technology Evaluations (ESTE) project to verify the performance of microbial resistant building products. EPA contracted with RTI International to develop the protocol and perform the testing needed to verify these products.

The verification project will evaluate building products making mold, mildew, and bacterial-resistant claims that are currently available. Manufacturers have developed different methods of controlling or eliminating microbial growth on these products, including removing microbial growth substrates and adding antimicrobial compounds to the products. The evaluation of building products will include the following:

• Ability of various building products to support fungal (mold) growth

• Resistance to moisture uptake

• Volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions

• Sustainability criteria

The test/quality assurance plan (T/QAP) has been written for verification of microbial resistant gypsum wallboard. This plan covers the test methods and the quality assurance processes for testing these products. It was developed based on input provided by RTI, EPA, stakeholders, and vendors. This T/QAP is posted on the ETV website. EPA plans to estimate reductions in solid waste due to the measured microbial resistance of the wallboard. The test/quality assurance plan (T/QAP) has also been written for verification of microbial resistant building materials and can be found on the ETV website.

Microbial resistant flooring, duct liners, and insulation materials have also been targeted for verification under this project. Stakeholder and vendor groups have been formed to provide insight and review during the development of the T/QAPS for these products. Stage 3 (testing and verification) funding is in place and product testing is scheduled to begin in Fall 2008. Initial products to be tested are Armaflex duct liner (Armacell), Lonwood Dakota flooring (Lonseal, Inc.), and Premium Plus insulation (Amerrock Products, LP). The T/QAP for wallboard will be modified to test these products. The testing results for AP Armaflex black (Armacell) and Lonseal Lonwood Natural (Lonseal, Inc.) are posted on the ETV Web site.

Minutes from the stakeholder and vendor meetings can also be located on the website.

Additional information on this and other ESTE projects can be found at: http://www.epa.gov/nrmrl/std/etv/este.html#mrbmgw. For specific information on building products, search the link "Microbial-Resistant Building Materials (In progress)".

For more information, please contact David Sarvadi (sarvadi@khlaw.com, 202.434.4249), Mike Novak (novak@khlaw.com, 202.434.4485) or the Pesticide Practice Group at Keller and Heckman.