The upholstery techniques used in furniture have not changed much since upholstery started to become quite popular and available over 400 years ago. Frames, springs, and fabric covering techniques look mostly identical now to antique pieces. Filling materials, on the other hand, have changed a lot.Read More
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Tumor-causing flame retardant treatments: Polyurethane foam burns fast and hot,[iv] which is why it’s treated with flame retardants like polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), Melamine,[v] chlorinated tris (TDCPP) and chlorinated organophosphate flame retardants (OPFRs).[vi] TDCPP negatively impacts fertility and tumor growth rates kidneys[vii] of which 8,000 tons are used every year.[viii] High-level exposure to melamine causes acute renal failure, urinary stone formation, and crystalluria.[ix]
In her blog, Christie's Non-Toxic Lifestyle, Christy Begien share some great insights into the impact of living with Volatile Organic Compounds. Visit her blog regularly to see how you can learn from her experiences.
VOC? What does that mean? The Minnesota Department of Health states that Volatile Organic Compounds are “a large group of carbon-based chemicals that easily evaporate at room temperature. While most people can smell high levels of some VOCs, other VOCs have no odor. Odor does NOT indicate the level of risk from inhalation of this group of chemicals.”
I’ll bet most of you have heard of formaldehyde. It’s a VOC and considered volatile because it emits a gas at room temperature. As it warms up, more of the chemical off-gasses into a room. (Off-gassing is the natural evaporation of chemicals.) The top three VOC offenders in our home? Carpeting, paint, and furniture and upholstery; all can carry VOCs, such as formaldehyde, toluene, and benzene, just to name a few.
The Washington Toxics Coalition is a great resource for understanding the importance of paying attention to what is inside your furniture. Here are a few healthy tips to guide you:
If you’re not sure whether a piece of furniture contains toxic flame retardants, ask the manufacturer. If they are not able to tell you, consider an alternative.
If you already own furniture that may contain toxic flame retardants, cover and seal any rips in upholstery and replace old items where foam is exposed, loose, and crumbling.
Consider replacing furniture made of manufactured wood that contains formaldehyde-based glues. You can also apply a sealant, to contain the formaldehyde.