by Sara Goldenberg
Furniture off-gassing can release toxic chemicals into the air we breathe.
Sometimes you may notice a strong odor coming from a new furniture set, other times, there is no smell. For some people, headaches, asthma and even more serious diseases like cancer may follow.
Avoiding off-gassing furniture:
Buy locally sourced, solid wood furniture
Buy GREENGUARD certified furniture. The certification “ensures that a product has met some of the world’s most rigorous and comprehensive standards for low emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into indoor air.”
Buy second hand furniture to cut down on your exposure to furniture off-gassing, since the levels go down after several years.
Avoid furniture made of composite materials, particle board
Avoid furniture with stain or water protectant
Buy organic mattresses
Or buy a mattress pad that filters out potentially harmful chemicals and gasses
Avoid flame retardants. According to the Green Policy Institute, “There is no data to show that meeting TB117 (California regulation) improves fire safety, but there is data showing that the flame retardants are associated with hormone disruption, developmental toxicity, and cancer in many animal studies and a small number of human studies.”
Use Safecoat Safe Seal on particleboard to block off-gassing of formaldehyde from processed wood.
Improve your air quality at home:
Open windows for a few minutes every few days to let in fresh air
Use exhaust fans as much as possible
Keep the temperature inside of your home at lowest comfortable setting
Vacuum with a HEPA filter
Choose formaldehyde-free products and products labeled no or low VOC
Use charcoal filters
Baking soda can help clear out furniture odors
Use natural cleaning products, avoid fragrances
Plants can also help improve your indoor air quality. A NASA study found indoor plants can help remove VOCs and improve air naturally.
One indoor plant is recommended by NASA for every 100 square feet of space.
Here are some recommended plants you can add to your home:
Heart Leaf Philodendron
Experts recommend checking to see if these plants are safe for small children and pets before you buy them for your home.