There are a lot of methods of poisoning someone, but did it ever cross your mind that your furniture could be the culprit?
“How?”, do you ask.
That is what I’ll answer for you.
Furniture Off Gassing
Off-gassing is the process by which chemicals in the products that we use every day are freed into the air. This off-gassing is the release of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) or gases into the air. The process is most active when an item is new.
With time, the emissions will decrease. How long that takes varies somewhat by product. Some products can take up to 10 years.
Over 80,000 chemicals have been introduced since the 1950s. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and other agencies are underfunded and over-worked which is why it’s hard to test everything that is offered to us in the world, from food to furniture and more. Even if we could have everything tested, we can’t possibly test what comes to us from overseas. And with all the thoughts of chemicals, there are so many possible combinations.
The “new smell” of a piece of furniture, car, newspaper…that is off gassing.
These chemicals may cause respiratory, eye or skin irritation and, depending on the chemicals and the exposure, they could cause more serious health problems.
6 ways your furniture can poison you…or seriously impact your health.
- Frame: The particle board and plywood in your furniture and house give off formaldehyde which can be highly irritating for the eyes and respiratory systems and is also a carcinogen.
- Finish: oil vs H2O based/low VOC
- Flame retardants / protectants
- Adhesives contain formaldehyde to bind materials together.
Look for the following when you are investing in furniture:
- Hard wood frames – avoid particle board – especially when it comes to your children.
- Water base finishes / Low VOC finishes
- Natural materials that make up cushions, mattresses, fabric and carpets like cotton, jute, hemp.
- Stay away from flame retardants and protectants.
- Open your windows as much as possible and air out your purchases.
These items will cost more but if you are among the people that react to VOCs, it will be worth it.
Minimize Your Exposure
- If you have a piece of furniture that smells “new”, use a fan, dehumidifier or open your windows for the first few days. Being proactive in reducing the off gases should prevent any health issues.
- Check with the company you buy from and see if they use any off-gassing methods. Furniture stores that are committed to healthy living and environments will have an off-gassing area to allow the furniture to breathe before taking into a client’s home.
- Look for seal of approval or certification labels by
- Safer Choice Program run by the EPA
- Greenguard -sets standards for electronics, building materials, furniture components, personal hygiene products and cleaning and maintenance products, among other items.
- The USDA sets the standards for all agricultural products that are labeled as organic.
- SSC Global Services: is an international leader in third-party certification, validation, and verification for environmental, sustainability, and food safety and quality performance claims.
REMEMBER: If you are unsure of what you are buying…ASK great questions. Push for the answers if your sales rep doesn’t know. The health of you and your loved ones is worth it!
Food for thought!
NEXT WEEK: I’ll share tips with you on how to set up a successful home office. And if you do Zoom calls with clients, you’ll want to tune in for one of my FUN and SIMPLE tips to help brand yourself and your business.
VIDEOS you might enjoy:
Learn about Living In Place vs Aging In Place: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-qAQG…
Tell me your takeaways from what I shared with you today. I’d love to hear!
Have a super week!