Editor’s note: The following is a guest post by Way Basics. In general, we don’t publish content written by companies, but we thought the message was important for our readers to consider, especially if your child’s room is filled with particle board or MDF furniture and play things.
With many of today’s consumers choosing to live a more sustainable lifestyle, not only are they choosing to further the “green” movement, but also are choosing to live a healthier lifestyle.
Nearly every day we are exposing ourselves to toxins that surface in products such as bookcases, end tables, and computer desks. The culprit: formaldehyde. Considered a Volatile Organic Compound (VOC), Formaldehyde is readily found in particle board and MDF and is used as a binding agent to allow the wood chips and fibers to adhere to each other.
Many furniture makers take advantage of particle board to construct their products and unfortunately, formaldehyde is a necessary part of the manufacturing process. This process produces what is known as ìoff-gassingî which is a toxic and less than desirable byproduct of creating household furniture.
Formaldehyde is a potentially life threatening chemical to individuals with upper respiratory problems such as asthma. Sealants are commonly used to keep formaldehyde at bay in products that take advantage of particle board, but with excessive use, cutting, age, or simply getting banged up in a common redesign project, those toxins can come to the surface and be potentially life threatening to these individuals with respiratory problems or those who are at higher risk of respiratory problems such as children. Other toxic chemicals such as phosphoric acid and cyanide are commonly used as well.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) lists formaldehyde as being a probable human carcinogen and until recently there has been very little that consumers could do on an economical level to make their homes safer.
“There are a lot of people who are very concerned with what their products are made of these days including parents of newborn children who are constantly around these products,” says Jimmy Chiang, founder and CEO of Way Basics. “That’s why we are so proud of our furniture line. Itís made of recycled paper and there are no toxic chemicals that go into the manufacturing process.”
“We use post-consumer recycled paper and build it into sustainable furniture at an extremely affordable price,” says Chiang. “Many times when people change their living situation, their furniture ends up in a landfill. With Way Basics there’s no headache and no worries because at the end of its life, simply recycle it. It might wind up back at Way Basics to live again!”
With many consumers living their lives mindful of the future, there is also increasing demands for “ cradle to cradle ” products. From consumers who are weary of what their children are “consuming,” to consumers who are simply tired of adding to the increasing size of our community landfills, we are finally being presented with viable options for a sustainable future.
“Our resources are finite,” says Chiang. “If we donít take the initiative to be responsible, then who will? We want to do things the right way. Itís time to challenge the old ways of thinking; out with the old, in with the new.”