ANCHORAGE, instagram followers hack ALASKA — Is your furniture killing you?
That may sound like a crazy question to ask, but in light of the recent move by the U.S. government to list formaldehyde as a known cause of cancer, it’s a question worth asking.
The primary source of formaldehyde in the home is apt to be pressed wood products manufactured with glues that possess urea formaldehyde resins, according to the Environmental Protection more information Agency.
Products made with pressed wood include:
?Particleboard (sub-flooring and shelving and in cabinets and furniture)
?Hardwood plywood paneling (decorative wall coverings, cabinetry and furniture)
?Medium density fiberboard (drawer fronts, cabinetry, and furniture tops)
MDF has a higher resin-to-wood ratio than any other UF pressed wood product, giving it the recognition of being the highest formaldehyde-emitting pressed wood product.
“Luckily, there is a way to combat this,” says Ana White, who operates the popular DIY furniture construction blog Ana White Homemaker.”You can build your own furniture out of real wood or plywood made with soy based glues a lot cheaper than if you purchased formaldehyde-free furniture at a store.”
White’s site, which offers readers a variety of creative DIY furniture ideas and primitive furniture plans, promotes the use of reclaimed wood and environmentally friendly share this site materials in her projects. She has several suggestions for eliminating furniture that contains formaldehyde in the home.
When making furniture such as a pine bunk bed or an oak night stand, use solid wood or formaldehyde-free plywood, which is manufactured using soy-based adhesives.
“You might be surprised to find that the cost actually is comparable to conventional plywood,” says White, who also likes using discount restoration hardware in her DIY projects. Major home improvement chains sell PureBond plywood with veneers including alder, oak, walnut, oak and maple.
Another option is to use exterior grade plywood for your interior furniture projects. The resins used to make this plywood contain a different type of formaldehyde with lower emissions than traditional interior hardwood plywood.
Finally, for those who don’t feel as though they have the time or can afford to replace their pressboard furniture, White suggests sealing it with a coat of polyurethane.
“Be careful to seal the piece of furniture outside and leave it out for at least a day to cure,” White says. “Otherwise, you run the risk of having those noxious fumes in your home.”
The EPA also recommends using air conditioners and dehumidifiers to keep humidity levels low and maintain comfortable room temperatures. When bringing a new piece of furniture that contains formaldehyde into the home, it is important to increase ventilation through the use of ceiling and stationary fans and windows.
About Ana White
Ana White is a stay-at-home mom whose first exposure to making furniture was building a farmhouse bed based on plans she drew herself and made using scraps leftover from building a home. A spark was ignited. She created her blog, Ana White Homemaker, in October 2009 and began sharing her plans with the blogosphere. Her first book is scheduled for release in summer 2012.
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