More and more companies are joining the fight to protect health and the environment by earmarking resources to studying and monitoring the impact of their products. Proof of that is the numerous company certifications (ISO 9001, ISO 14001, ISO 45001, ISO 50001), product certifications and emissions self-declarations.

Emissions of chemical products

Many compounds can cause a host of indirect health effects since their emission can affect the ozone layer. Some of the compounds which may be emitted are volatile organic compounds.

What are VOC emissions?

Directive 2010/75/EU defines VOCs as organic compounds having a vapour pressure of 0.01 kPa or more at 293.15°C, or an equivalent volatility under particular conditions of use.

Directive 2004/143/EU defines them as any organic compound whose initial boiling point is equal to or less than 250°C at a standard pressure of 101.3 kPa.

What does this mean? That they are chemical substances which contain carbon and go from the liquid to gaseous state under normal pressure and at room temperature.

VOCs are released naturally or artificially, such as by burning fuels like petrol, wood, coal or natural gas, or from solvents, paints and other products used and stored at home and at the workplace. If we focus on indoor environments, VOC emissions can come from many products, such as sealants which have recently been applied.

Are VOC emissions dangerous?

VOC emissions pollute the air and can even harm our health depending on the period and the product to which we are exposed. This is why countries generally seek to regulate VOC emissions by establishing limits, and they sometimes even ban the use of products that do not meet these established limits.

In the case of building materials, and in our case sealants, the release of VOCs begins during their application. This release of gases lowers as the sealant cures.

To demonstrate that sealants have low VOC emissions, there are several regulations in countries like France or Germany which are accepted Europe-wide and are used for the regulations in other countries or for building certifications like LEED and BREEAM.

Olivé products vs emissions

Olivé Química products which are applied indoors are classified according to the French decree. This decree is not a certification but a self-declaration made by each manufacturer bearing in mind tests based on EN-16000-9 conducted by an official laboratory which has several categories depending on the amount of VOC they emit. Ninety-nine percent of Olivé products have been given the highest classification: A+.

Plus, Olivé certifies its products according to EMICODE, a regulation whose certification is issued by GEV, a German organisation which uses tests conducted following its own method. Ninety percent of the certified products earn the highest classification, that is, lowest emissions.

We at Olivé are making an effort to certify more products according to EMICODE and to continue investing and focusing on research to lower the emissions of products that do not reach the highest classification levels.


Ana Gómez

Quality and Environment Manager | QHSE