Many people who are not involved with the green living movement do not realize just how many toxins are contained within many common household items. From the paint on the unprotected walls to the pillows you sleep on, they are literally everywhere.
Now, these are not particularly a massive risk to the health of everyone in your family as they stand; however, they have a better chance of causing long term health effects the longer someone is exposed to them. One of the most notable culprits pertaining to toxins in the home comes from the various woodwork that can be found in most households.
Obviously, in walking into someone's home, chances are there is going to be something manufactured with some form of wood in plain sight. Sure, it may look beautiful, however, that same object could be producing airborne toxins that can cause or contribute to adverse long term health effects if left exposed for a long period of time. The wood itself is not the problem mind you, but what it contains.
Where Woodworking Toxins Are Found And What They Are:
The various woods used to make cabinetry and furniture are often coated with a preservative of some kind to ensure long life, making them less susceptible to wear and tear. These preservatives often contain arsenic and formaldehyde.
Arsenic is known to cause certain cancers, and adversely affect the heart and blood vessels. Formaldehyde is one of the most noxious poisons in cigarettes, and is the main cause of lung disease and lung cancer to cigarette smokers, who wants that in their home? Now, in terms of these toxins causing the health effects described, it would take quite a bit of exposure over a long period of time. However, why not rid your home of some sources of these poisons, despite how little or significant it may be?
How To Minimize Toxins From Existing Woodwork:
The best way to help to minimize or even prevent the toxins on your existing woodwork is to adhere a coating of non-toxic sealant. What this sealant will do is act as a barrier between you and the initial toxic coating. In most cases, these sealants prevent 100% of VOC emissions, or at least drastically decreases them. You can find many options of these natural and or non-toxic sealants by simply typing non-toxic sealants into the Google search engine.
What To Look For When Buying New Wood Furniture:
If you are purchasing a new piece of wood furniture, chances are you will easily be able to find non-toxic items, as many companies have become aware of the dangers in specific coatings that were widely used a decade ago.
However, if you are still unsure, look for furniture that contains particle board that has been processed with phenol formaldehyde. Phenol formaldehyde is much less toxic than the urea formaldehyde that is regularly used.
Also, consider the type of wood that the furniture is actually manufactured in. Typically, in looking for companies that manage farm grown Eco-friendly trees such as bamboo and or eucalyptus, they will be utilizing non-toxic coatings on their products. As the demand for Eco-friendly products becomes more prevalent, companies are beginning to implement non-toxic preservatives on their woodwork to appeal to a new generation of customers.
If you are still in doubt, take a trip to your local Home Depot and ask someone about wood and timber manufacturers who derive their supplies from non endangered areas. The list is growing, as such, the manufacturers who still implement toxic practices will soon be in the minority.