Acoustic Ceiling Tile

Photo Credit: Armstrong Sustain


Often found in commercial spaces, acoustic ceiling tiles (ACT) are used to soften, block, and diffuse sound.4 In order to achieve these acoustical qualities, ACTs are traditionally composed of fiberglass or mineral wool and natural fillers such as cellulose, calcium carbonate, and perlite.1 Many fiberglass and mineral fiber ceiling panels use formaldehyde, a carcinogen and respiratory irritant, as a binding agent. Other ceiling tiles may contain hormone-disrupting PVC, chemical flame retardants, and antimicrobial treatments.7


Mineral wool can often become airborne after breaking off, consequently causing health problems associated with its binding agents. 5 Fiberglass particles can cause irritation to the eyes, skin, and respiratory tract when exposed.6 If flame retardants are used in either of the ceiling tiles, they may pose additional health concerns such cancer, hormone disruption, and decreased fertility.7


Since acoustic ceiling tiles are made of porous materials, they can also harbor mold, fungi, and bacteria associated with asthma, bronchitis, sinus problems, as well as respiratory infections.2 A high-quality ventilation system and humidity control is crucial in preventing mold growth and is preferred over antimicrobial treatments which pose a variety of health concerns.



✓ Look for these certifications: 7

    • Cradle to Cradle (C2C) Silver
    • Greenguard Gold
    • Health Product Declaration (HPD)
    • Declare Red List Free

✓ For high-humidity areas: 7

    • Choose naturally moisture-resistant tiles like perlite, clay or metal

✗ Watch out for products with: 7 1

    • Formaldehyde-based resins and binders
    • PVC and other materials that may contain phthalates
    • Added chemical flame retardants
    • Biocides and antimicrobial treatments