Paints, Coatings, Stains, And Sealers

Upcoming Revision: In 2020, Green Seal committed to a multi-year phased approach for restricting per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in all certified products due to their adverse health and environmental impacts. We completed Phase I in 2022 by prohibiting PFAS in formulas for certified cleaning and personal care products. Now, in the second phase of this initiative, Green Seal is proposing criteria to prohibit PFAS in this standard. To learn more or receive project updates, visit our Standard Projects page.


Green Seal’s GS-11 leadership standard means a paint, coating, stain, or sealer is verified as safer for human health and the environment compared to similar products while delivering uncompromising performance. The standard covers wall and ceiling coatings, anti-corrosive coatings (previously GC-03 for Anticorrosive Paints), floor paints, primers, stains, finishes, and sealers intended for application to wallboard, tile, metal, wood, composite wood, concrete, stone, masonry, and terrazzo substrates, as well as other architectural substrates. Download the GS-11 full standard.


All Green Seal certified products must demonstrate functional performance via an objective, scientifically validated method under controlled and reproducible laboratory conditions. Paints, coatings, stains, and sealers must meet ASTM standards in relevant areas such as adhesion, applicability, scrubbability, and washability. 

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standard revisions

Latest Version: Edition 4.0, September 7, 2021

Recent Changes: GS-11 underwent corrections and/or clarifications and was re-published on October 27, 2023. For details on the non-substantive changes made to this standard, please see the Standards Documents Library.

Recent Revision: Green Seal updated the requirements for GS-11 to fully align with LEED v4 and 4.1. Visit Edition 4.0 in our Library  to see a complete record of the standard criteria development process.

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Green Seal Compass
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Many of the standards for human health and minimizing waste also help preserve the climate:

  • Content limits on volatile organic compounds (VOCs)
  • Prohibition on ozone-depleting compounds
  • Prohibition on halogenated solvents
  • Reduced/recycled packaging
Volatile Organic Compounds Restricted to content level specified by CARB SCM 2007 for product type
Volatile Organic Compounds Emissions Testing Product must undergo environmental chamber test and meet emissions limits for 35 target VOCs
Volatile Aromatic Hydrocarbons < 0.5% by weight
Hazardous Air Pollutants Prohibited above 100ppm
Ozone Depleting Compounds Prohibited above 100ppm
Carcinogens Prohibited above 100ppm
Mutagens Prohibited above 100ppm
Reproductive Toxins Prohibited above 100ppm
Alkylphenol Ethoxylates Prohibited above 100ppm
Formaldehyde Donors Prohibited above 100ppm
1,2 Dichlorobenzene Prohibited above 100ppm
Di (2-ethylhexyl) phthalate Prohibited above 100ppm
Butyl benzyl phthalate Prohibited above 100ppm
Di-n-butyl phthalate Prohibited above 100ppm
Di-n-octyl phthalate Prohibited above 100ppm
Diethyl phthalate Prohibited above 100ppm
Dimethyl phthalate Prohibited above 100ppm
Triphenyl tins and tributyl tins Prohibited above 100ppm
Triclosan Prohibited above 100ppm
Methylene chloride Cannot be intentionally added at any level
Perchloroethylene Cannot be intentionally added at any level
Phthalates Must not be intentionally added to primary packaging
Antimony Prohibited above 100ppm
Hexavalent Chromium Prohibited above 100ppm and must not be intentionally added to packaging
Lead Prohibited above 100ppm and must not be intentionally added to packaging
Mercury Prohibited above 100ppm and must not be intentionally added to packaging
Cadmium Prohibited above 100ppm and must not be intentionally added to packaging
packaging and end-of-life management requirements
Packaging Must either contain a minimum of 20% recovered material, be recyclable as part of a take-back program, or source-reduced
Labelling Must provide instructions for appropriate purchasing and proper use to minimize waste
End-of-Life Management Manufacturer must provide information to consumers on proper disposal, recycling opportunities for leftover product and packaging, and if offered, a take-back program


All Green Seal-certified products must meet industry best practices for Quality and Safety.

Proper Use Training


Safety Data Sheets
Our standards are referenced by the leading green building certification programs.