For the Love of Your Health

This past Sunday March 1st, 60 Minutes aired a disturbing investigative piece on the high levels of formaldehyde found in Lumber Liquidators flooring. Formaldehyde exposure has long been known to be a human carcinogen. Because exposure has been recognized to cause cancer, it is regulated here in the U.S. for acceptable levels.

Sadly enough however, there are dishonest manufacturers and retailers that are willing to sell the highly contaminated flooring with incorrect or no warning labels on what’s inside. Worse, some labels are intentionally falsified to say their product, is in fact, U.S. compliant for formaldehyde levels, ensuring the public is not aware of what is safe, non-toxic and (GULP) in our homes right now!

I hate to be the bearer of bad news but it’s not just cheap flooring you need to be mindful of. If your sofa contains standard foam, it most likely contains a carcinogenic chemical, Chlorinated Tris, which has been proven to cause an awful array of diseases, including thyroid disease and cancer.

If you have inexpensive case goods made of plywood or particleboard, such as desks (where you sit daily), cabinets (where you store your food or clothing) bedside tables or headboards (where you sleep and breathe) they may also contain VOC’s that cause damage to the liver, kidney and nervous system.

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The old adage, “you get what you pay for,” is truer today than ever before. We don’t put our children in flame retardant clothing any longer because it was discovered flame retardant fabric affects a humans DNA, stunting growth and causes a slew of damaging diseases. But those decorative pillows you thought were a bargain at $49… sorry, but likely they are stuffed with foam that contains the same toxic chemicals found in the banned flame retardant children’s fabric.

As of January 2015, the government passed a new standard for upholstery, TV117-2013 but it doesn’t go far enough, and doesn’t prohibit the use of these chemicals in furnishings and many big box/big store retailers and online retailers will cut corners to create cheap items to be competitive. Hence, that $199 dining chair that’s a steal!

As a nation we’ve gotten so much better about learning what’s in our foods, but sadly we can’t stop there and need to also educate ourselves with the items that surround us in our homes. This article will get you started, but the obvious tell is always the price. You now know why Lumber Liquidators wood flooring could be bought at 49 cents per sq ft. So the next time you see a sofa for $799, realize why it’s so inexpensive!  The sectional that’s $1299 – plug your nose, cover your mouth and RUN!

There is good news of course! A lot of American made product lines and quality manufacturers based here in the states do offer green options and are completely toxic free and carry the TV117-2013 labels. But you need to know where to find them and not be afraid to insist that furnishings and textiles you intend to purchase carry the label. Working with a designer who is well versed on such matters will make certain nothing toxic enters your home. And if it’s currently not in your budget, try a second hand store or a quality flee market with older furniture made prior to 1970. You can reupholster with brand new fabric and Voilà, good as new.

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