FAQ’s

FAQ’s : Green Acronyms / Abbreviations

Green Textile Acronyms begin with ‘A’

ACT Association for Contract Textiles – The Association for Contract Textiles is a nonprofit organization that was founded in 1985. ACT is a professional trade group consisting primarily of companies that design, develop, produce and promote textiles for commercial interiors united for support, strength, credibility and common interests.

CATEGORY : Fiber, Green, Weave SOURCE : ACT

ANSI American National Standards Institute – ANSI facilitates the development of American National Standards (ANS) by accrediting the procedures of standards developing organizations (SDOs). These groups work cooperatively to develop voluntary national consensus standards like NSF/ANSI 336, the Sustainability Assessment for Commercial Furnishings Fabric.

CATEGORY : Green SOURCE : American National Standards Institute

BCF bioconcentration factor – A measure of the tendency for a chemical to accumulate. The ratio of the concentration of a substance in a living organism (mg/kg) to the concentration of that substance in the surrounding environment (mg/l for aquatic systems).

CATEGORY : Green SOURCE : MBDC

BOD biochemical oxygen demand – When a body of wastewater contains too much biological material, the bacteria and other microorganisms in it cannot successfully decompose all the organic matter for food, growth and energy. This breaking down of the biological material requires oxygen; therefore, by measuring the amount of oxygen that is depleted from the sample as a result of such bacterial action, the balance within the aquatic environment can be measured. The BOD is a standard test, which takes five days to run, and is performed by introducing a population of bacteria and microorganisms to attempt to duplicate what would happen in a natural stream. The most commonly used method to estimate the total quantity of biodegradable organic material in wastewater. Compare to Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD).

CATEGORY : Green SOURCE : ACT Glossary

C2C Cradle to Cradle – A term used in life-cycle analysis to describe a material or product that is recycled into a new product at the end of its defined life.

CATEGORY : Green SOURCE : ACT Glossary


CAA Clean Air Act – The federal statute that regulates air emissions from area, stationary and mobile sources. This law authorizes the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to establish National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) to protect public health and the environment.

CATEGORY : Green SOURCE : ACT Glossary


CAS number Chemical Abstract Service number – A number uniquely identifying each pure chemical compound.

CATEGORY : Green SOURCE : MBDC


CEQ Council on Environmental Quality – The Council on Environmental Quality coordinates federal environmental efforts. CEQ reports annually to the President on the state of the environment; oversees federal agency implementation of the environmental impact assessment process; and acts as a referee when agencies disagree over the adequacy of such assessments.

CATEGORY : Green SOURCE : The White House Website


CERCLA Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Liability Act – A 1980 federal statute that created the Superfund program and established a trust fund for the cleanup of abandoned and uncontrolled hazardous waste sites.

CATEGORY : Green SOURCE : ACT Glossary


CERES California Environmental Resources Evaluation System – An information system developed by the California Resources Agency to facilitate access to a variety of electronic data describing California’s diverse environments.

CATEGORY : Green SOURCE : ACT Glossary


CFC chlorofluorocarbon – A compound consisting of chlorine, fluorine and carbon. CFCs are very stable in the troposphere. CFCs are commonly used as refrigerants, solvents and foam-blowing agents; uses of CFCs in aerosols are prohibited due to ozone depleting potential.

CATEGORY : Green SOURCE : ACT Glossary


COD Chemical Oxygen Demand – When a body of wastewater contains too much biological material, the bacteria and other microorganisms in it cannot successfully decompose all the organic matter for food, growth and energy. This breaking down of the biological material requires oxygen; therefore, by measuring the amount of oxygen that is depleted from the sample as a result of such bacterial action, the balance within the aquatic environment can be measured. Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD) is a test that adds a strong chemical oxidizing agent to the wastewater sample in order to estimate the result of bacterial action. Although it is completely artificial, it is considered to yield a result that may be used as the basis on which to calculate a reasonably accurate and reproducible estimate of the oxygen-demanding properties of a wastewater. The COD’s advantages (compared to the BOD test) are that it takes under three hours for completion and is not subject to the interference from toxic materials that can affect the results of the BOD. Both of these are standard tests for estimating the health of an aquatic environment.

CATEGORY : Green SOURCE : ACT Glossary


CT Clearance Time – The CT indicates the time needed to eliminate or biodegrade a substance to a certain percentage in an organism. For example, the CT50 indicates the time needed to eliminate 50% of a certain substance, analogous to the half-life time measure t1/2.

CATEGORY : Green SOURCE : MBDC

DOP Dioctyl Phthalate – The most widely used plasticisers, primarily to make soft and flexible PVC for applications in the automotive, construction, textile, and medical industries. Can cause birth defects and cancer, based on animal test data.

CATEGORY : Green SOURCE : Chemicalland21.com

DOT Department of Transportation Hazardous Material – Materials that have been designated by the DOT to pose an unreasonable risk to human health, safety and/or property when transported.

CATEGORY : Green SOURCE : ACT Glossary

E3 Encouraging Environmental Excellence – A voluntary rating system for textile factories developed by The American Textile Manufacturers Institute.

CATEGORY : Green SOURCE : ACT Glossary

EC50 Effect Concentration 50 – The median exposure concentration (EC50) is the median concentration of a substance that causes some effect in 50 percent of the test animals.

CATEGORY : Green SOURCE : MBDC

EHS Extremely Hazardous Substance – Any one of over 366 hazardous chemicals on a list compiled by the EPA to provide a focus for state and local emergency planning.

CATEGORY : Green SOURCE : ACT Glossary

EIS Environmental Impact Statement – Federal laws and regulations (including NEPA, the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969) require the federal government to evaluate effects of its actions on the environment and to consider alternative courses of action. An EIS is the required document that describes the positive and negative impacts on the environment as a result of a proposed action, impacts of alternatives and ways to mitigate the impacts. The Council for Environmental Quality (CEQ) regulations stipulates the recommended format and content of Environmental Impact Statements.

CATEGORY : Green SOURCE : ACT Glossary

EMS Environmental Management System – An industry-developed and driven management structure that prioritizes compliance with environmental policy objectives and targets effective implementation of environmentally-focused procedures; a key feature of an EMS is the preparation of documented systems, procedures and instructions to ensure effective communication and continuity of such implementation. ISO 14001 specifies the actual requirements for an EMS standard and is the most widely recognized system of this type.

CATEGORY : Green SOURCE : ACT Glossary

EPA Environmental Protection Agency – The U.S. federal agency established in July of 1970 to protect human health and to safeguard the natural environment, air, water and land upon which life depends; works closely with other federal agencies, state and local governments and Indian tribes to develop and enforce regulations under existing environmental laws; provides leadership in the nation’s environmental science, research, education and assessment efforts; and is responsible for researching and setting national standards for a variety of environmental programs and delegates to states and tribes; responsible for issuing permits, and monitoring and enforcing compliance.

CATEGORY : Green SOURCE : ACT Glossary

EPCRA Emergency Planning and Community Right-To-Know Act – The federal statute (of 1986) that is the third part of the Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act of 1986, also known as SARA Title III. This law requires facilities to report the chemicals that they store, established the State Emergency Response Commission (SERC) and the Local Emergency Planning Committees (LEPC) and led to the adoption of the OSHA HAZWOPER standard.

CATEGORY : Green SOURCE : ACT Glossary

EPEA Environmental Protection Encouragement Agency – Founded by Michael Braungart in 1987. The Environmental Protection Encouragement Agency applies Cradle to Cradle methodology to design of new processes, products and services. Headquarters are located in Hamburg, Germany.

CATEGORY : Green SOURCE : ACT Glossary

EU-Eco European Eco-Label – A labeling system using a flower symbol to designate products that have been checked by independent bodies and certified compliant with strict ecological and performance criteria.

CATEGORY : Green SOURCE : www.eco-label.com

FTC Federal Trade Commission – The U.S. federal agency with regulatory and enforcement authority directed towards stopping actions that threaten consumers’ opportunities to exercise informed choices.

CATEGORY : Green SOURCE : ACT Glossary

GHG greenhouse gas – Certain gases (including water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and ozone and several classes of halogenated carbons that contain fluorine, chlorine and bromine) that allow solar radiation to reach Earth’s surface and become absorbed, yet trap thermal radiation leaving the earth’s surface. Outgoing thermal radiation absorbed by these gases heats the atmosphere. The atmosphere then emits thermal radiation both outward into space and downward to Earth, further warming the surface.

CATEGORY : Green SOURCE : ACT Glossary

GRI Global Reporting Initiative – The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) is a multi-stakeholder process and independent institution whose mission is to develop and disseminate globally applicable Sustainability Reporting Guidelines.

CATEGORY : Green SOURCE : ACT Glossary

GWP Global Warming Potential – A scale used to relate a compound to the CO2 equivalents to measure the potential heating effects on the atmosphere.

CATEGORY : Green SOURCE : MBDC

HAP Hazardous Air Pollutant – Those pollutants that cause or may cause cancer, other serious health effects (such as reproductive effects or birth defects) or adverse environmental and ecological effects. The EPA is required to control 188 HAPs including dioxin; asbestos; toluene; metals such as cadmium, mercury, chromium and lead; benzene, which is found in gasoline; perchlorethlyene, which is emitted from some dry cleaning facilities; and methylene chloride, which is used as a solvent and paint stripper by a number of industries. Also known as toxic air pollutants.

CATEGORY : Green SOURCE : ACT Glossary

HCFC Hydrochlorofluorocarbon – A compound that consists of hydrogen, chlorine, fluorine and carbon. The HCFCs are a class of replacements for CFCs. They contain chlorine and thus deplete stratospheric ozone, but to a much lesser extent than CFCs. Production of HCFCs are currently being phased out of production.

CATEGORY : Green SOURCE : ACT Glossary

HFC Hydrofluorocarbon – A compound that consist of hydrogen, fluorine and carbon. The HFCs are a class of replacements for CFCs. Because they do not contain chlorine or bromine, they do not deplete the ozone layer.

CATEGORY : Green SOURCE : ACT Glossary

ISO International Standards Organization – A non-governmental organization located in Geneva, Switzerland, chartered to develop voluntary technical standards that aim to make the development, manufacture and supply of goods and services safer, cleaner and more efficient.

CATEGORY : Green SOURCE : ACT Glossary

ISO 14000/ ISO 14001 International Standards Organization 14000/ 14001 – A group of ISO standards that address environmental issues. Includes standards for Environmental Management Systems (EMS) (ISO 14001), environmental and EMS auditing, environmental labeling, performance evaluation and life-cycle assessment. Compliance results in “ISO 14000 Certification.”

CATEGORY : Green SOURCE : ACT Glossary

ISO 9000 International Standards Organization 9000 – A group of ISO standards and guidelines that relate to quality management systems. Currently includes three quality standards: ISO 19001: 2000 establishes requirements; ISO 9000: 2000 and ISO 9004: 2000 establishes guidelines. All of these are process standards, not product standards. Compliance results in “ISO 9000 Certification.”

CATEGORY : Green SOURCE : ACT Glossary

LC50 Lethal Concentration 50 – An LC50 value is the concentration of a specific material in the air that will kill 50% of the test subjects (animals, usually) when administered as a single exposure (typically 1 or 4 hours) under specified laboratory conditions. This value allows comparison of the relative toxicity of different materials.

CATEGORY : Green SOURCE : MBDC

LCA life cycle assessment, life cycle analysis – A technique for assessing the potential environmental impacts of a product by examining all the material and energy inputs and outputs at each life cycle stage.

CATEGORY : Green SOURCE : MBDC

LCC life cycle cost – The amortized annual cost of a product, including capital costs, installation costs, operating costs, maintenance costs and disposal costs discounted over the lifetime of the product.

CATEGORY : Green SOURCE : ACT Glossary

LCI life cycle inventory – The part of the LCA process that quantifies the energy, input of raw material and releases of material into the environment that are associated with each stage of production.

CATEGORY : Green SOURCE : ACT Glossary

LD50 Lethal Dose 50 – The median lethal dose (LD50) is the statistically derived median dose of a substance that can be expected to cause death in 50 percent of the test animals.

CATEGORY : Green SOURCE : MBDC

LEED AP Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Accredited Professionals – LEED Professional Accreditation distinguishes building professionals with the knowledge and skills to successfully steward the LEED certification process. LEED Accredited Professionals (LEED APs) have demonstrated a thorough understanding of green building practices and principles and the LEED Rating System. More than 43,000 people have earned the credential since the Professional Accreditation program was launched in 2001.

CATEGORY : Green SOURCE : www.usgbc.org

LEED™ Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design – A point-based rating system developed by The U.S. Green Building Council Rating System for Sustainable Development (USGBC) to assess new and existing commercial buildings for a variety of earth-friendly features.

CATEGORY : Green SOURCE : ACT Glossary

MBDC McDonough Braungart Design Chemistry – MBDC is a product and process design firm that was founded in 1995 by William McDonough and Dr. Michael Braungart to promote and shape what they call the “Next Industrial Revolution” through the introduction of a new design paradigm called Cradle to Cradle Design, and the implementation of eco-effective design principles.

CATEGORY : Green SOURCE : www.MBDC.com

MSDS Material Safety Data Sheet – A document required by OSHA that contains information about hazardous chemicals in the workplace in order to insure the safety and health of the user at all stages of a material’s manufacture, storage, use and disposal.

CATEGORY : Green SOURCE : ACT Glossary

NAAQS National Ambient Air Quality Standards – Air quality standards required by the Clean Air Act that monitor six pollutants, known as criteria pollutants, considered harmful to public health and the environment. The Clean Air Act established two types of national air quality standards: primary standards set limits to protect public health, including the health of sensitive populations such as asthmatics, children and the elderly; and secondary standards set limits to protect public welfare, including protection against decreased visibility, damage to animals, crops, vegetation and buildings. The EPA sets and monitors the levels for these standards.

CATEGORY : Green SOURCE : ACT Glossary

NEPA National Environmental Policy Act – An act that requires federal agencies to integrate environmental values into their decision making processes by considering the environmental impacts of their proposed actions and reasonable alternatives to those actions. To meet this requirement, federal agencies prepare a detailed statement known as an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). EPA reviews and comments on EISs prepared by other federal agencies, maintains a national filing system for all EISs, and assures that its own actions comply with NEPA.

CATEGORY : Green SOURCE : National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)

NPS Pollution nonpoint source pollution – Pollution caused by rainfall or snowmelt moving over and through the ground. As the runoff moves, it picks up and carries away natural and human-made pollutants, finally depositing them into lakes, rivers, wetlands, coastal waters and underground sources of drinking water.

CATEGORY : Green SOURCE : ACT Glossary

NSF NSF International – NSF International is an independent, not-for-profit organization that provides standards development, product certification, auditing, education and risk management for public health and the environment. Manufacturers, regulators and consumers alike look to NSF International for the development of public health standards and certification that help protect the world’s food, water, health and consumer products.

CATEGORY : Green SOURCE : NSF International

ODP ozone-depletion potential – This is the measure of the ozone-depleting characteristics of the substance. Ozone depletion in the upper atmosphere leads to an increase of UV-radiation on the Earth and, as a result, an increase in skin cancer. CFCs are included here.

CATEGORY : Green SOURCE : MBDC

ODS ozone depleting substance – Substances that release chlorine or bromine atoms when they break down which then deplete ozone. CFCs, HCFCs, halons, methyl bromide, carbon tetrachloride and methyl chloroform are ODSs, which are generally very stable in the troposphere and only degrade under intense ultraviolet light in the stratosphere.

CATEGORY : Green SOURCE : ACT Glossary

Oeko-Tex International Oeko-Tex Association – Founded in 1992, the International Oeko-Tex Association provides uniform, scientifically founded evaluation standards for the human ecological safety of textiles.

CATEGORY : Green SOURCE : Oeko-Tex Association

OSHA Occupational Safety and Health Administration – The federal agency established in 1971, to ensure safe and healthful workplaces in the U.S. through leadership, enforcement, outreach, education and compliance assistance

CATEGORY : Green SOURCE : ACT Glossary

PBT persistent bioaccumulative toxin – Chemicals that are toxic, persist in the environment and bioaccumulate in food chains and therefore pose risks to human health and ecosystems.

CATEGORY : Green SOURCE : ACT Glossary

PET polyethylene terephthalate – A thermoplastic material that is clear, tough and has good gas and moisture barrier properties. Used in soft drink bottles and other blow molded containers, although sheet applications are increasing. Cleaned, recycled PET flakes and pellets are used in some spinning fiber for carpet yarns, fiberfill and geo-textiles. Other applications include strapping, molding compounds and both food and non-food containers.

CATEGORY : Green SOURCE : ACT Glossary

Pow Octanol-Water Partitioning Coefficient – A measure of the tendency of a chemical to partition between an aliphatic hydrocarbon system and an aqueous system. Often used as a predictor for bioaccumulation potential.

CATEGORY : Green SOURCE : MBDC

PVC Polyvinyl Chloride – Synthetic thermoplastic polymer made from vinyl chloride. In addition to its stable physical properties, PVC has excellent transparency, chemical resistance, long-term stability, good weatherability, flow characteristics and stable electrical properties. However, its stability makes it nearly environmentally indestructible. PVC also releases hydrochloric acid and other toxic compounds when produced, used or burned.

CATEGORY : Green SOURCE : ACT Glossary

RCRA Resource Conservation and Recovery Act – The federal statute that is an amendment to the Solid Waste Disposal Act (of 1965). The four primary goals of RCRA are as follows: protection of human health and the environment from potential hazards associated with hazardous waste disposal; conservation of energy and natural resources; reduction of the amount of hazardous waste generated; and enforcement of environmentally sound waste management practices. Adopted by Congress in 1976.

CATEGORY : Green SOURCE : ACT Glossary

REACH Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemical – REACH is a new European Community Regulation on chemicals and their safe use (EC 1907/2006). It deals with the Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemical substances. The new law entered into force on 1 June 2007. The aim of REACH is to improve the protection of human health and the environment through the better and earlier identification of the intrinsic properties of chemical substances. At the same time, innovative capability and competitiveness of the EU chemicals industry should be enhanced. The benefits of the REACH system will come gradually, as more and more substances are phased into REACH.

CATEGORY : Green SOURCE : European Commission

SARA Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act – Federal statute (of 1986) that increased the size of the Superfund trust fund for cleanup activities and increased the authority of the EPA in enforcement and cleanup activities. Title III of SARA is known as the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (see EPCRA).

CATEGORY : Green SOURCE : ACT Glossary

SBS Sick Building Syndrome – Instances in which building occupants experience acute health and discomfort effects that appear to be linked to time spent in a building, but no specific illness or cause can be identified. The complaints may be localized in a particular room or zone, or may be widespread throughout the building. In contrast, the term building related illness (BRI) is used when symptoms of diagnosable illness are identified and can be attributed directly to airborne building contaminants.

CATEGORY : Green SOURCE : ACT Glossary

SCS Scientific Certification Systems – SCS, an international organization, provides independent certification and verfication of environmental, sustainable, stewardship, food quality, food safety and food purity claims.

CATEGORY : Green SOURCE : SCS

TCLP Toxicity Characteristic Leaching Procedure – A commonly used test for determining the potential of certain metals and chemicals for their potential to leach out of an unlined disposal site into groundwater at toxic levels; identified in RCRA, 40 CFR Part 261.

CATEGORY : Green SOURCE : ACT Glossary

TNS The Natural Step – An international organization founded in Sweden in 1989 that uses a science-based, systems framework to help organizations, individuals and communities take steps towards sustainability

CATEGORY : Green SOURCE : ACT Glossary

TPQ Threshold Planning Quantity – The amount of an extremely hazardous substance present at a facility above which the facility’s owner/operator must give emergency planning notification to local, state and federal emergency planning commissions.

CATEGORY : Green SOURCE : ACT Glossary

TPU thermoplastic polyurethane – A type of polyurethane with notable strength and elasticity that is also less flammable compared to other polyurethane fabrics.

CATEGORY : Fiber, Green SOURCE : Brentano, Inc.

TRI Toxic Release Inventory – An EPA database (available to the public) that contains information on toxic chemical releases and other waste management activities reported annually by certain covered industry groups and by federal facilities. This inventory was established under the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act of 1986 (EPCRA) and expanded by the Pollution Prevention Act of 1990.

CATEGORY : Green SOURCE : ACT Glossary

TSCA Toxic Substances Control Act – The federal statute (of 1976) that authorized the EPA to track the 75,000 industrial chemicals currently produced or imported into the United States. EPA repeatedly screens these chemicals and can require reporting or testing of those that may pose an environmental or human-health hazard. EPA can ban the manufacture and import of chemicals that pose an unreasonable risk.

CATEGORY : Green SOURCE : ACT Glossary

TSS Total Suspended Solids – TSS represents the total amount of solid matter in a representative water sample that is retained on a membrane filter. It includes all sediment and other constituents that are fluid suspended. A commonly used method for measuring water pollution.

CATEGORY : Green SOURCE : ACT Glossary

UHW Universal Hazardous Waste – Certain hazardous, widely generated materials such as batteries, pesticides and thermostats. The EPA adopted the Universal Waste Rule (1993), which amended the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) regulations in order to allow for streamlined management of this

CATEGORY of hazardous wastes (58 FR 9346).

CATEGORY : Green SOURCE : ACT Glossary

USGBC U.S. Green Building Council – A coalition of representatives from the building industry that promotes buildings that are environmentally responsible, profitable and are healthful places to live and work.

CATEGORY : Green SOURCE : ACT Glossary

VOC volatile organic compound – Any compound that contains carbon and becomes a gas at room temperature. VOC emissions are regulated because they contribute to smog formation. The most common sources of VOC emissions are from storage and use of liquid and gaseous fuels, the storage and use of solvents and the combustion of fuels and can include housekeeping and maintenance products and building and furnishing materials. In sufficient quantities VOC emissions can cause eye, nose, and throat irritations, headaches, dizziness, visual disorders, memory impairment; some are known animal carcinogens; some are suspected or known human carcinogens.

CATEGORY : Green SOURCE : ACT Glossary

WBCSD World Business Council for Sustainable Development – A coalition of 160 international companies chartered to promote sustainable development through economic growth, ecological balance and social progress.

CATEGORY : Green SOURCE : ACT Glossary

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