With American made furniture available at reasonable prices, it just got a whole lot easier to find non toxic furniture. However, in many cases, you will be required to select the options that are most eco-friendly for your furniture. Here are some tips on how to find non toxic furniture.
For decades, furniture has been made with chemicals that have been link to birth defects, cancer and other illnesses. In addition, these chemicals are released into the environment and end up in the air, water supply and even in wildlife. Exposure to these chemicals is gradually decreasing thanks to the general public's knowledge about the dangers. However, as you shop for furniture, you still will need to take precautions to ensure that your eco-friendly furniture is truly non toxic.
VOC, or Volatile Organic Compound, are used in glues to make them fluid and workable. VOCs are solvents that are released into the air as glue or paint dries. VOCs include formaldehyde, acetaldehyde, benzene, toluene, xylene, and isocyanates. Formaldehyde is one of the potentially carcinogenic chemicals that is found in furniture glue. However, there are many products available that are formaldehyde-free and low VOC so that you can choose better options for your health.
Any kind of finishes that are used on the wood in the furniture should be no or low VOC. VOCs can cause immediate symptoms, including headaches and dizziness. The long term effects of VOCs are unknown. However, it has been suspected that some are carcinogens and as a result, the best option is to avoid finishes that contain VOCs by opting for natural finishes like linseed oil.
If your furniture contains flame retardants in the filling, then you may be putting your health at risk. Flame retardants are dangerous because they are not chemically bound to the fillings in furniture and can easily escaping into the air. These flame retardants then attach to dust particles, which are easy for you to breathe in.
Flame retardants have been linked to cancer, reproductive issues and brain damage. Children and pregnant women are especially at risk. These chemicals are bioaccumulative and have been found in the cells of most people in the United States.
If you want to ensure that your furniture is safe, look for the label and ask the retailer if the furniture contains flame retardants. If you prefer to go all natural you can even choose all natural latex for frames and cushions of eco-friendly sofas and sectionals.
For fabric upholstery, look for natural and organic fabric, such as cotton or linen. The fabric should also use non toxic, heavy-metal-free dyes and not have fire retardants or stain repellants added. It's a great idea to order fabric samples ahead of time to get a good feel for the texture and color as well. Other options for natural fibers, include hemp, abaca, ramie, and bamboo. However, cotton and linen receive the highest durability ratings when it comes to furniture upholstery. Natural elements, like jute, should also be for the webbing and dust cover.
Solid Wood Furniture
Solid wood is the best option for furniture that won’t be harmful to your health because it can be manufactured without using toxic paints or adhesives. If you want to non toxic furniture, veneer and unhealthy versions of plywood should be avoided because these building materials can sometimes be manufactured using chemical adhesives that contain VOCs. Solid wood is kind of old school but is still the best choice in terms of durabiity and being all natural.
Don't worry about picking out all of the right elements if you have no idea what you are trying to do. Any eco-friendly furniture manufacturer can create a piece of furniture that is green if you provide some ideas on what you are looking for and don't be shy to ask questions. However, you should make it clear that you are shopping for non toxic furniture and ask the brand about the materials that are used if they don't provide the information themselves.