Here's a bit of good news relating to furniture (we must still fight the battle to get formaldehyde regulations for the garment and cosmetic industries): a bill signed late last year would reduce indoor emissions of formaldehyde, as used in adhesives found in domestic and imported composite wood products. The standard for formaldehyde proposed in the bill would apply to particleboard, plywood and medium-density fiberboard, all commonly used materials in household furniture. Formaldehyde-based adhesives have been a component of composite wood products for decades and are considered cost-effective by manufacturers.
The Wall Street Journal reported on its Kicking Formaldehyde Out of Bed article that formaldehyde vaporizes and turns into gas at room temperature. Pressed-wood products made with formaldehyde can off-gas, or release gas into the air. Off-gassing has become more of a concern because some energy-efficient homes may provide less ventilation. In homes with less ventilation, consumers could be breathing in more concentrated amounts of toxic substances.
"Currently, there is no federal standard for formaldehyde emissions in most homes. The Department of Housing and Urban Development has set limits on formaldehyde in plywood and particleboard, but they apply specifically to materials used to build prefabricated and mobile homes. Under the proposed legislation, composite wood products sold in the U.S. would have to meet formaldehyde-emission standards of about 0.09 parts per million by January 2012, matching standards recently adopted by California."
Furniture manufacturers are already expecting furniture prices to go up due to the proposed bill. Manufacturers will be forced to use more expensive adhesives (free of the dangerous chemicals) in the making of their goods . So let's all expect to pay more for our furniture. I'll gladly pay more, as long as I know that my furniture is not hurting my health.
The Kicking Formaldehyde Out of Bed article featured Ecotots:
The manufacturer of Ecotots beds (like the one above) says they are made without formaldehyde.