Question

Can offgassing from new furniture contaminate the whole room?

Asked by Joan Smyth
Scarsdale, NY

We recently bought new furniture for my son's bedroom and the smell of varnish was overwhelming. I wouldn't let my son sleep in the room. 1 1/2 months later, it was still smelly so I called the manufacturer and they picked it up,for inspection, not a refund :( Well the furniture has been out of the house for 1 week and the room still smells of varnish. It seems as if the whole room was contaminated by the off gassing, is that possible. The manufacturer of the furniture claims that the following was used to stain and varnish the furniture: SHER-WOOD Hi bild lacquer ,dark teak toner SHER-WOOD Wipping Stain,darl teak#8292-1418 and SHER-WOOD HI BUILD LACQUER,Medium Rubbed finish # T70FT1 Is this stuff toxic?

Answer

Jason Kliwinski

Answered by Jason Kliwinski

Lambertville, NJ

The Green Living and Building Center

May 13, 2013

The short answer is yes, it's toxic and off gases at room temperature.

Most manufacturers have a drying process their furniture is supposed to go through to vent off most of the Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) that you are smelling because they evaporate at room temperature and can be very deterimental to human health. The affects and symptoms range from mild things like a headache to full blown issues like asthma, nervous system damage and more serious diseases like leukemia.

I would strongly recommend getting a refund and the next time you look to purchase furntiure that is pre-finished make sure the manufacturer has properly vented it.

Look for Green Guard certified furniture which ensure low or no VOC usage as well.

Tagged In: home air quality

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