Have you ever walked into a store that sells imported wood furniture and wondered about the odd smell? Has it given you a headache?
There are several potential culprits. Formaldehyde, which is used to cure manufactured composite woods, can be one; glues are another. But if the furniture is coming from a distant country, and especially from a warm climate, you’re often smelling the pesticides that the wood was treated with before being packed in a shipping container.
The point is, any of these volatile organic compounds (also known as VOCs) are evaporating or “off-gassing” into your home’s air. VOCs have a range of short or long-term effects on human health and the environment. These can cause headaches and nausea, skin irritation and even shortness of breath. Many VOCs are known or suspected carcinogens.
The best way to avoid inhaling pesticides from your furniture is to purchase made-in-North America, solid-wood furniture. Look for manufacturers that build with quality, sustainable woods and employ green-certified construction standards.