Being ardent supporters of a healthy lifestyle, most of us realize the importance of healthy eating, physical activity, the right amount of sleep and a balanced emotional state. At the same time, we oftentimes lose sight of the importance of the eco-friendly home. We’re well aware of the health risks of too much sitting, but what about the health risks from the materials we’re sitting on? From things and materials that surround us in our home?
Did you know that according to numerous a typical urban home contains dozens and dozens of highly toxic chemicals? The sources of these toxic chemicals are not the polluted air, or household chemicals, as many may believe, but rather building materials and poor quality furniture.
There is no secret that most furniture is made of wood particleboards, chipboards, fibreboards, plywood, and cardboard. All these materials are manufactured from a compound of wood particles, formed under a hot-pressing process. The adhesive used to bond the components is often based on formaldehyde resin. The result of this mixture is the emission of toxic chemicals, such as formaldehyde, ammonia, butyl acetate, vinyl acetate, butyl phthalate, and other potentially harmful substances.
However, if you bought a wardrobe made of wood particleboard, this doesn’t necessarily mean that you and your family will constantly breathe toxins. To prevent this from happening all exposed surfaces typically are covered with a protective coating.
Always pay attention to whether a protective coating covers all open surfaces of furniture made of particleboard. According to standards it must be applied to all exposed (both visible and hidden from view) surfaces. The only exception is the back surfaces facing walls excluding, however, kitchen furniture.
Bear in mind that each area not covered with a protective coating is a source of toxic substances. Edges of the shelves, side panels, openings for the shelf pins – all these are potential sources of dangerous formaldehyde emission. It is very easy to distinguish between protected and uncovered places: the former is smooth and nice looking; the latter has a rough surface and is an uneven structure.
In any case, furniture made of chipboard will not harm your health – if it’s certified and meets the quality standards. We strongly recommend buying furniture from a reliable manufacturer. When buying, ask the sales representative or the store administration for a furniture safety certificate. Based on the potentially emitted amount of free formaldehyde wood particleboard materials can be divided into three groups, such as:
- E1 Class: 0-10mg/100g of dry board
- E2 Class: 10-20mg
- E3 Class: 30-6-mg
Class E1 materials are the safest for human health. Class E3 boards are allowed only in construction. Therefore, when buying furniture made of fibreboard or particleboard make sure that it meets these standards. Also, trust your senses: if you detect a strong chemical smell in a furnished room, most likely, the furniture has a high content of formaldehyde.
Here are a few more tips:
- Particleboard furniture is safe enough until the air temperature is lower than+26 C. Therefore, such furniture should not be placed near heat sources.
- The life cycle of the furniture made of this type of materials is short: 10-15 years for upholstered furniture, 5 years for cabinetry. At the end of the life cycle cabinetry laminate wears out and toxins start emitting into your home.
- If you customize furniture, remember that the altered surfaces need to be covered with a protective coating.
Furniture is made out of solid wood – is healthy, safe and environmentally friendly!
Natural wood has unique properties:
- sets the optimal balance of heat and moisture;
- adsorbs odors and toxic substances;
- enriches air with oxygen; fills it with essential oils, kills harmful viruses and bacteria.
Did you know that different types of wood also have unique healing properties? For example, oak positively affects the brain function, improves memory, stimulates appetite, boosts and gives energy, relieves stress. Birch helps to heal physical and emotional wounds, instills inner harmony. Aspen fights pathogenic microbes and fungi and also helps to find inner peace. Maple gives a feeling of confidence and balance, helps through emotional turmoil. Speaking of pine, most certainly you noticed that you breathe easier, feel healthier and happier, refreshed and rejoiced when you stroll through the pine forest, fatigue and tiredness just go away…
In conclusion, when buying furniture, choose natural, quality and safe materials. Choose health!