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Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) & Carpeting

On Jan. 17, 2012, the Mayor signed into law  Local Law 2 of 2012 (PDF), adding Chapter 14 to Title 17 of the Administrative Code (Limits on Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) Emissions in Carpet and Carpet Cushion).  This fact sheet provides information on the requirements of the new law and compliance information for carpet businesses.

What are Volatile Organic Compounds?

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) are chemicals that easily evaporate into the air. They are often used in paints, household cleaners and certain building materials, including mass-produced carpets, carpet cushions and adhesives. 

Why limit VOC emissions from carpet products?

Reducing VOC emissions in carpets and carpet products can reduce VOC impact on the environment, and reduce exposures and odors indoors. Reducing sources of indoor air pollutants and maintaining good ventilation can improve overall indoor air quality.  See link for other ways to improve IAQ. 

What does the new law require of carpet businesses?

Beginning July 1, 2013, carpet businesses can only sell or install carpets and carpet cushions that comply with the VOC emissions limits specified in Chapter 14 of Title 17 of the NYC Administrative Code (Limits on Volatile Organic Compound Emissions in Carpet and Carpet Cushion).  

Carpet businesses must also post or provide a notice to customers stating the requirements of the law. 

What types of carpet and carpet cushion are exempt from the law?

Antique or hand-made rugs or carpets made of natural fibers such as wool, cotton or jute, with no VOC-containing carpet backing or carpet cushion, are exempt from the law. Any carpet or carpet cushion sold or installed before July 1, 2013 is exempt.

What must a carpet business do to comply with the law?

In order to comply, carpet businesses must follow three steps:

  • Sell or install carpet or carpet cushion that:
    • Complies with the VOC emissions limits specified in Section 17-1404 of the Administrative Code (Tables I and II), or
    • Is certified by the Carpet and Rug Institute’s (CRI) Green Label or Green Label Plus program.
  • Obtain documentation that shows the carpet or carpet cushion sold or installed is compliant with the VOC emissions limits specified above, and keep the documentation for six months after its sale or installation. Acceptable forms of information include: 

    • Documentation from the carpet or carpet cushion manufacturer that shows the product complies with VOC emissions limits as specified in the NYC Administrative Code, or
    • Certification from the Carpet and Rug Institute’s Green Label or Green Label Plus Program.

    The carpet seller or installer must include the following information together with the documentation to help identify the carpet or carpet cushion:

    • Name and address of the manufacturer
    • Brand name
    • Style name or number
    • Model name or number
  • Post or provide a notice to the customer that states the requirements of the new law, which includes wording specified under Section 30-04, Title 24 of the Rules of the City of New York. See Notice section below for specific language.

Businesses found to be in violation of the law are subject to penalties and fines.

Which adhesives should be sold or used when installing a carpet and carpet cushion?

All adhesives that are sold or applied in New York State must comply with the VOC content limits specified by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Chapter III – Air Resources, Part 228, Subpart 228-2.

What information must be included on customer receipts?

Per Title 24, Chapter 30 of the Rules of the City of New York, each customer receipt from a carpet seller must include the following information:

  • Date of purchase
  • Name of the manufacturer
  • Brand name of carpet or carpet cushion
  • Style name or number of carpet or carpet cushion
  • Model name or number of carpet or carpet cushion
What are the notice requirements for carpet sellers and installers?

A notice that states the requirements of the new law must be posted or provided to the customer as follows:

  • Carpet sellers in New York City must post a clearly visible sign at their place of business. The sign must be at least 8 ½ by 14 inches in size and the size of the letters must be at least half an inch tall.
  • Carpet installers who install carpet or carpet cushion purchased outside New York City for installation within New York City must provide a paper copy of the notice to the customer prior to installation.
  • Carpet sellers who sell carpet or carpet cushion on a website for installation within New York City must provide an electronic notice to the customer at the time of purchase.

New York City Carpet Emission Limits

  • After July 1, 2013, carpet sellers may only sell carpet or carpet cushion that complies with New York City laws for volatile organic compound (VOC) emission limits.
  • Carpet installers, building owners and occupants may only install VOC-compliant carpet or carpet cushion in any building.
  • A carpet business must provide documentation showing VOC compliance upon customer request. Call 311 if the carpet seller or installer does not give you this information.
  • Keep your receipt to help track product information.

Download and print a copy of the notice (PDF)

What information does the customer have the right to receive?

A customer has the right to:

(1) Request documentation at the time of purchase, or within six months of the date of purchase, that shows the carpet or carpet cushion being sold or installed meets VOC emissions limits as specified above:

(2) A receipt of their purchase with the following information:

  • Date of purchase
  • Name of the manufacturer
  • Brand name of carpet or carpet cushion
  • Style name or number of carpet or carpet cushion
  • Model name or number of carpet or carpet cushion
Related Links

On Jan. 17, 2012, the Mayor signed into law  Local Law 2 of 2012 (PDF), adding Chapter 14 to Title 17 of the Administrative Code (Limits on Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) Emissions in Carpet and Carpet Cushion).  This fact sheet provides information on the requirements of the new law and compliance information for carpet businesses.

What are Volatile Organic Compounds?

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) are chemicals that easily evaporate into the air. They are often used in paints, household cleaners and certain building materials, including mass-produced carpets, carpet cushions and adhesives. 

Why limit VOC emissions from carpet products?

Reducing VOC emissions in carpets and carpet products can reduce VOC impact on the environment, and reduce exposures and odors indoors. Reducing sources of indoor air pollutants and maintaining good ventilation can improve overall indoor air quality.  See link for other ways to improve IAQ. 

What does the new law require of carpet businesses?

Beginning July 1, 2013, carpet businesses can only sell or install carpets and carpet cushions that comply with the VOC emissions limits specified in Chapter 14 of Title 17 of the NYC Administrative Code (Limits on Volatile Organic Compound Emissions in Carpet and Carpet Cushion).  

Carpet businesses must also post or provide a notice to customers stating the requirements of the law. 

What types of carpet and carpet cushion are exempt from the law?

Antique or hand-made rugs or carpets made of natural fibers such as wool, cotton or jute, with no VOC-containing carpet backing or carpet cushion, are exempt from the law. Any carpet or carpet cushion sold or installed before July 1, 2013 is exempt.

What must a carpet business do to comply with the law?

In order to comply, carpet businesses must follow three steps:

  • Sell or install carpet or carpet cushion that:
    • Complies with the VOC emissions limits specified in Section 17-1404 of the Administrative Code (Tables I and II), or
    • Is certified by the Carpet and Rug Institute’s (CRI) Green Label or Green Label Plus program.
  • Obtain documentation that shows the carpet or carpet cushion sold or installed is compliant with the VOC emissions limits specified above, and keep the documentation for six months after its sale or installation. Acceptable forms of information include: 

    • Documentation from the carpet or carpet cushion manufacturer that shows the product complies with VOC emissions limits as specified in the NYC Administrative Code, or
    • Certification from the Carpet and Rug Institute’s Green Label or Green Label Plus Program.

    The carpet seller or installer must include the following information together with the documentation to help identify the carpet or carpet cushion:

    • Name and address of the manufacturer
    • Brand name
    • Style name or number
    • Model name or number
  • Post or provide a notice to the customer that states the requirements of the new law, which includes wording specified under Section 30-04, Title 24 of the Rules of the City of New York. See Notice section below for specific language.

Businesses found to be in violation of the law are subject to penalties and fines.

Which adhesives should be sold or used when installing a carpet and carpet cushion?

All adhesives that are sold or applied in New York State must comply with the VOC content limits specified by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Chapter III – Air Resources, Part 228, Subpart 228-2.

What information must be included on customer receipts?

Per Title 24, Chapter 30 of the Rules of the City of New York, each customer receipt from a carpet seller must include the following information:

  • Date of purchase
  • Name of the manufacturer
  • Brand name of carpet or carpet cushion
  • Style name or number of carpet or carpet cushion
  • Model name or number of carpet or carpet cushion
What are the notice requirements for carpet sellers and installers?

A notice that states the requirements of the new law must be posted or provided to the customer as follows:

  • Carpet sellers in New York City must post a clearly visible sign at their place of business. The sign must be at least 8 ½ by 14 inches in size and the size of the letters must be at least half an inch tall.
  • Carpet installers who install carpet or carpet cushion purchased outside New York City for installation within New York City must provide a paper copy of the notice to the customer prior to installation.
  • Carpet sellers who sell carpet or carpet cushion on a website for installation within New York City must provide an electronic notice to the customer at the time of purchase.

New York City Carpet Emission Limits

  • After July 1, 2013, carpet sellers may only sell carpet or carpet cushion that complies with New York City laws for volatile organic compound (VOC) emission limits.
  • Carpet installers, building owners and occupants may only install VOC-compliant carpet or carpet cushion in any building.
  • A carpet business must provide documentation showing VOC compliance upon customer request. Call 311 if the carpet seller or installer does not give you this information.
  • Keep your receipt to help track product information.

Download and print a copy of the notice (PDF)

What information does the customer have the right to receive?

A customer has the right to:

(1) Request documentation at the time of purchase, or within six months of the date of purchase, that shows the carpet or carpet cushion being sold or installed meets VOC emissions limits as specified above:

(2) A receipt of their purchase with the following information:

  • Date of purchase
  • Name of the manufacturer
  • Brand name of carpet or carpet cushion
  • Style name or number of carpet or carpet cushion
  • Model name or number of carpet or carpet cushion
Related Links