What is Greenguard certification, and why does it matter for babies?


You may have heard of GREENGUARD certification, but you might not be sure what it is or why it’s important. If you’re interested in environmentally friendly and sustainable choices for your home, here’s a breakdown of what the Greenguard seal means for furniture, cleaning products, and home-building materials.

What is Greenguard certification?

Greenguard certification is issued by UL Environment, a global science organization and a branch of Underwriters Laboratories Inc. The goal of the UL Greenguard certification program is to create product sustainability and improve health by certifying that products release low chemical emissions.

Global health took a hard knock during the pandemic, and concerns about air quality rose, especially indoors. Products that are Greenguard certified or Greenguard Gold certified have lower emissions, which greatly improve indoor air quality.

What are Volatile Organic Compounds or VOCs?

We’ve mentioned chemical emissions twice, but how do they impact us, and what are VOCs? 

The American Lung Association describes them as “Gasses that are emitted into the air from products or processes. Some are harmful by themselves, including some that cause cancer. In addition, some can react with other gasses and form other air pollutants after they are in the air.” 

How do VOCs affect our health?

When we look at a bottle of household cleaner, a candle, or a can of paint, most of us don’t focus on the fine print. But according to the EPA (United States Environmental Protection Agency), VOCs are present in thousands of household products.

VOCs are released by these products when we use them and, to some extent, when they are in storage. These compounds can linger in the air long after use, leaving us exposed to indoor air pollutants. Studies have shown that volumes of VOCs are considerably higher indoors than outdoors. 

The EPA lists the following product categories as containing VOCs:

  • Paints
  • Aerosol sprays
  • Air fresheners
  • Disinfectants, cleaners, and detergents
  • Furnishings
  • Automotive products
  • Craft materials like glue and markers

They also list the following as potential health effects of VOCs:

  • Irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat
  • Headaches, nausea, and dizziness
  • Liver and kidney damage

Symptoms of VOC exposure may include:

  • Skin allergies
  • Nausea and headaches
  • Dizziness and fatigue

While most VOCs are irritants that cause mild to moderate symptoms, long-term exposure to some specific VOCs may cause chronic health conditions.

Greenguard vs. Greenguard Gold certifications

What’s the difference between Greenguard certification and Greenguard Gold certification?

Basic Greenguard certification means that a product meets or exceeds specific emission limits for commercial building products and furniture, including office furniture. Office furniture that is Greenguard certified is also in compliance with the Business and Institutional Furniture Manufacturers Association (BIFMA) X7.1 standard and BIFMA e3 credit 7.6.1.

Greenguard Gold certification, on the other hand, includes stringent health-based limits for additional chemicals. Greenguard Gold certified products are required to have lower overall VOC emissions, to ensure they can be used in healthcare facilities, schools and around children. 

Why Greenguard Gold certification matters

Greenguard Gold standards are some of the world’s most stringent for limiting VOC emissions. Products that are Greenguard Gold certified can help create a healthier home by reducing indoor air pollutants, and the risk of chemical exposure.

Children are most at risk for health issues caused by poor indoor air quality because their immune systems are still developing. Greenguard Gold certified products help limit children’s exposure to VOCs at home or school.

Is Cradlewise Greenguard Gold certified?

You’ll be happy to know that it is. Our crib mattress, made of coconut coir and organic rubber latex, is free of VOCs and 100% biodegradable. 

The crib frame is made with molded plywood, eucalyptus wood, and oak wood, and the glue and the finish are VOC free.

What are the Greenguard certification criteria set by UL?

The UL Greenguard and Greenguard Gold standards limit chemical emissions of toxic gasses and particulate matter. There is a maximum limit of allowed concentrations for both certifications. 

The limits for Greenguard Gold are more stringent; to qualify for the certification a product must have far lower chemical emissions.

Some of the VOCs limited are:

  • Formaldehyde
  • Benzene
  • Methyl chloroform
  • Naphthalene
  • Phenol

Here is the complete list of Maximum Allowed Predicted Concentrations for both Greenguard and Greenguard Gold certifications.


Q: Where are the products tested for VOCs?

A: In special humidity and temperature-controlled chambers ranging in size.

Q: How long does it take to get certified?

A: Between 1 – 6 months.

Q: Is testing only done once?

A: Once a product has been checked and certified, annual retests are done to ensure it still qualifies for the certification.


  1. Greenguard certification. UL. What does “Greenguard Certified” mean?
  2. VOCs. American Lung Association. Volatile organic compounds.
  3. What are VOCs? EPA (Environmental Protection Agency). What are volatile organic compounds (VOCs)?
  4. The impact of VOCs on indoor air quality. EPA (Environmental Protection Agency). Volatile Organic Compounds’ Impact on Indoor Air Quality.
  5. Greenguard and Greenguard Gold certification. UL. UL Greenguard Certification Program
  6. Greenguard maximum allowed concentrations of VOCs. UL. GREENGUARD Certification Criteria for Building Products and Interior Finishes.
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