Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Chemical Cocktails and Conventional Furniture

For many of us, our home is where our family and friends spend a lot of time socializing, playing, napping, snuggling, snacking… Would you agree it make sense to buy furnishings that are natural and good for our health? For many people, this concept has not crossed your mind before today, and the following information may be shocking. The question now is WHAT ARE THE INGREDIENTS IN CONVENTIONAL FURNITURE? Did you know most furniture is a toxic chemical cocktail? The health issues are primarily three-fold:
  • Foam cushions are made of petroleum-based polyurethane, a highly flammable product. To rectify this, toxic, cancer causing flame retardants are added. This synthetic foam in the cushions breaks down over time. The end result is dust containing fire retardant chemicals polluting the indoor air which you and your family breath. These chemicals have become ubiquitous in the environment. They are found in wildlife tissue samples (both land and sea), breastmilk and other human body fluids.
  • Wood used in most conventional furnishings is not solid, but rather particleboard. The manufacturing of particleboard involves the use of formaldehyde, a known carcinogen. Long term studies indicate that significant outgassing of formaldehyde continues for at least five years and possibly longer.
  • Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from adhesives, dyes, wood stains and spray-on upholstery protectors (ie Scotchgard) carry the unique risk of perfluorochemicals (PFCs). The EPA says that these VOCs outgas and pollute indoor air. Studies of laboratory animals have found that PFCs may affect growth and development, reproduction, and injure the liver.
Some mainstream furniture manufacturers have created a line of eco-friendly furniture, which is clearly a step up from conventional toxic furniture. This is a positive trend for sure! However, while the furniture is fire retardant free and made of sustainably produced materials - and perhaps even organic cotton - it is still a toxic choice from a health perspective. For example, foam and fabric made from recycled materials used in some of these big box “eco-friendly” lines still has the potential to outgas formaldehyde and other chemicals since it may be made from post-consumer waste and VOC containing adhesives and upholstery dyes.

In other words, an environmentally friendly/green product is not necessarily a non-toxic and healthy choice for your family!

Wondering if Your Furniture is Safe?

If all of this information has you wondering about furniture that was purchased before you started greening your lifestyle, take heart. There is something you can do now to make sure your existing furniture is safe for your family.

Duke University’s Superfund Research Center is assisting consumers by offering foam testing services. You simply send in a small sample of foam from your sofa or chairs and their research team will test it to see what fire retardant chemicals are in it and how badly it continues to off gas, if at all.

Additionally, we offer eco-positive non-toxic furnishings for your home, office, restaurant, salon and yacht. Wall units, kitchen cabinetry, upholstered furniture, bathroom vanities, tables, drapes and more…

Any design you imagine; any style you desire - eco-positive for your life!

If you find this article useful, please 'like' and share it on your social media pages. We appreciate the opportunity to help create a comfortable and healthy environment for you and your family!


Robert Craymer