What is a VOC?
Most furniture is manufactured with products containing volatile organic compounds (VOCs) - chemicals found in glues, plywood, upholstery, paints, solvents and foam. These chemicals don’t remain in the products, but are released over time into the atmosphere during a process called off-gassing.
Are VOCs a health hazard?
Depending on the types of chemicals released and the amount inhaled by a person, the levels of these gases can become toxic and have been linked to a number of health complaints from headaches, sick building syndrome, allergies, respiratory issues sick building syndrome, to more serious ailments in the longterm including various cancers.
The impact of poor indoor air quality
As health and wellness becomes more of a hot-button issue within the workplace, indoor air quality is coming under scrutiny. Studies are showing that good air indoor quality can impact our cognitive ability while pollution can even harm our intelligence as well as our health!
Reduce your exposure from furniture
There are a number of ways reduce the impact of VOCs on your health:
- Limit your exposure by purchasing low VOC furniture.
- Air out new furniture by placing outdoors or in a well-ventilated space like a garage for at least one week.
- Purchase pre-owned furniture or showroom floor models. Old furniture releases fewer VOCs since it’s already had an opportunity to offgas.
- Work in well ventilated spaces. Opening doors and windows or use air-conditioning and air filters. Reduce air humidity and temperature as chemicals offgas at a higher rate in hot, humid conditions.
- Green your indoor space - plants are proven to help reduce the number of indoor toxins by absorbing the VOCs from the air.
- Purchase locally-made products from trusted manufacturers who use quality materials and produce furniture under stringent environmental management systems.