How Does Furniture Off-gassing Affect Your Health?

How Does Furniture Off-gassing Affect Your Health?

What is furniture off-gassing?

First things first -- what is furniture off-gassing? Off-gassing is the process whereby new furnishings or furnitures in your home give off harmful chemicals into the air for years.

These harmful chemicals are known as volatile organic compounds (VOCs). In furniture, the most common VOC we talk about is formaldehyde, which is commonly found in products made from manmade wood materials such as particle boards and plywood. These materials require the use of glue during the manufacturing process, which leads to off-gassing. New carpentry, glues used during flooring or carpet installation and paints can also give off VOCs. Solid wood does not contain VOCs as it is a natural material.

If you've ever walked into a newly renovated space, and noticed the "new smell" in the air, that is a tell-tale sign of VOCs. While the "new smell" may go away after days, VOCs are here to stay. Research has shown that it can take up to two years for VOC levels in a newly renovated home to go down to normal levels.

Why should we care about furniture off-gassing?

It is important to be mindful about the materials that go into your furniture because VOCs affect your health. VOCs can cause irritation in the eyes, nose and throat, and even headache and nausea. Vulnerable groups such as children and the elderly may feel the effects more severely. Prolonged exposure to VOCs may also cause cancer -- research has shown that formaldehyde is a proven carcinogen.

That's why at Nichinichi, we specialise in solid wood furniture that is healthier for you and your family. 99% of our products (with the exception of a few metal racks we carry) are made with solid wood as the main material. Some furnitures contain limited use of plywood as supplementary material, usually at the back of the piece. These are clearly labelled under our product details section.

We should be more mindful of the things we place in our homes as they are the objects we will live and interact with day in and out.


Picture credit: Spacejoy, Prydumano Design

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