You might be thinking, “What could be toxic about wood? It’s natural, isn’t it?”
You are partially right.
Yes, furniture is traditionally made from wood, wood byproducts or artificial materials, but times have changed. Manufacturers now use a range of processing, preservative, paint-stabilizing chemicals to preserve wood and upholstery furniture for as long as possible. Most of these chemicals follow international safety standards, but your furniture could be filled with other dangerous chemicals that may aggravate your health.
Toxins in Your Furniture?
Formaldehyde is the most common chemical used to process and preserve wood. Although the International Agency for Research on Cancer has classified formaldehyde as a potential carcinogen, it is still used as an adhesive to hold together composite woods like plywood, press-wood and fiberboard.
As a result, it is found in nearly every kind of furniture, paper material, and upholstery material. Federal standards do not regulate the amount of formaldehyde used to make furniture and this can be dangerous for furniture owners. Realizing the potential health issue, individual states like California passed a regulation that set formaldehyde-emission levels to 0.09 parts per million.
What Can You Do If You Are Not In California?
If you don’t stay in California and are worrying about the formaldehyde in your furniture, you should be cautious. Even if you do use particleboard or pressed wood furniture, you can follow a few precautions that will reduce formaldehyde emissions from your furniture to a minimum.
- Formaldehyde vaporizes in contact with heat. To reduce formaldehyde vapors inside your home, keep your furniture dry and away from heat.
- Engineered furniture will always contain formaldehyde and levels do not dissipate completely. A simple effective solution is to seal the wood surface with water-based, low-gloss sealer to reduce emissions.
- Try to switch over to plastic, metal or wood furniture. This should be an option as formaldehyde is a potent sensitizer and it can increase allergies. Besides, plastic, wood and metal furniture is much better for the environment.
These are just a few simple steps but they are incredibly effective in reducing the amount of formaldehyde vapors in your home or office. Stay in touch for many more interesting articles.
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