The issue of indoor air quality (IAQ) gained attention in the 1980s with the identification of sick building syndrome, a combination of ailments associated with an individual’s place of work or residence. Its causes are frequently tied to the off-gassing of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) — chemical compounds that vaporize and enter the atmosphere under normal conditions — from some types of building materials. One of the main VOCs implicated in unhealthy indoor air quality is formaldehyde.
CARB is a regulation whose goal is to reduce public exposure to formaldehyde. It establishes strict emission performance standards on various types of composite wood products, including some types of engineered wood flooring. CARB requires that all finished goods destined for sale in California use composite wood products that have been tested and certified as compliant at the mill that makes them.