Volatile Gases in Cabinetry and Furniture

Volatile gases such as benzene, xylene and formaldehyde are commonly found in kitchen cabinetry.
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volatile gases commonly found in kitchen cabinetry

volatile gases commonly found in kitchen cabinetry

This maple cabinet is fully constructed from wood.

Pressed wood is a common source of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) . The glues that hold the wood chips together emit gases -- and many cabinets are made from this material. Many plastics and epoxies (used for adhesion of cabinet sections) contain formaldehyde. Urea formaldehydes produce emissions that increase with temperature and humidity, which is even worse in kitchens.

Consider cabinetry made of solid wood, wheat board (made from wheat straw and non-toxic binding), bamboo, lyptus (sustainable cherry from South America), or metal.

Furniture

  • Select furniture made of hardwood instead of veneered particleboard, and make sure it's sealed with water-based polyurethane. Alternately, seal older particleboard furniture with no-VOC or low-VOC finishes.
  • Avoid upholstered furniture that's stuffed with foam rubber, and avoid stain-resistant fabric treatments.
  • Look for upholstered furniture stuffed with heathier wool or cotton batting.
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