You’ve hand-picked the softest cotton outfits, the best baby gear, a couple organic baby hats, and the nursery is all decked out in matching colors and beautiful, functional furniture pieces.
You’re all set, right?
Well, maybe. Take one more look at that furniture. What’s it made of?
If the items you’ve chosen for your baby’s furniture are made from particleboard, you may want to take one more step. I’ll tell you why and then what you can do to “finish” it.
What’s the deal with baby furniture made of particleboard?
Particleboard, or pressed wood, is used to make many furniture pieces because it costs less than real wood but can often look just as nice. It makes a great base for modern designs, also. The trouble is that it contains formaldehyde, a volatile organic compound (VOC) that turns into gas at room temperature.
Formaldehyde is a known carcinogen – meaning it can cause cancer. You’ve put so much into making sure she has the best of everything. You certainly don’t want to surround your tiny, developing baby with toxins. Unfortunately, most people don’t realize it’s a hazard, because the effects may not be immediately apparent.
What you can do to cut down on off-gassed formaldehyde
Even real wood pieces may have some parts made from pressed wood or particleboard. Take a look at the inside of drawers, the back of the dresser, the bottom slats on the crib, and you may find it.
Once you find the pieces of furniture you want to treat, give it a coat of Safecoat Safeseal. This is a product that seals in the gasses and prevents them from entering the environment.
Formaldehyde and other VOCs are found in items even beyond pressed wood, too. If you are able to, here are some other choices that can help you create a healthier nursery room for your baby.
- Buy furniture made of real wood (but be aware fabric surfaces may also need time to off-gas toxins from flame retardants, etc., too)
- Set up the nursery as far in advance as you can, to allow more time for the chemicals to off-gas
- Buy used furniture (much of the dangerous off-gassing occurs in the first 1-5 years)
- Let the room air out frequently (the toxins can seep into other items in the room and continue to circulate, even after they’ve off-gassed from the particleboard, carpet or fabrics)
- If you’re buying new furniture, let it air out in the garage as long as possible. You can also request the item be stored unwrapped at the warehouse prior to delivery.
- Choose paint that’s free of VOCs
- Go for wood flooring instead of carpeting
- Choose rugs with natural fibers