Nursery Furniture: Hand Me Downs – Old is Gold!

Written by admin on February 2, 2011. Posted in Healthy Home, Toxic Nursery

Nursery Furniture
“Old is Gold” when it comes to nursery furniture. Pre-Loved or Hand Me Down items I believe are the healthiest for your home but be sure they still meet the current Australian Safety Standards. I’m not talking ollllllld here but getting your hands on furniture that is 2, 3 or 4 years old IS gold. Cots, rocking chairs, change tables, bookcases, toy chests etc have had a chance to off-gas toxic chemicals (like Formaldehyde in the particleboard: “What effect might formaldehyde have on my health? Exposure to formaldehyde irritates the eyes, nose, and throat, and can cause skin and lung allergies. Higher levels can cause throat spasms and a build-up of fluid in the lungs, leading to death. Contact can cause severe eye and skin burns, leading to permanent damage. These may appear hours after exposure, even if no pain is felt. Formaldehyde can cause an asthma-like allergy. Future exposures can cause asthma attacks, with shortness of breath, wheezing, cough, and/or chest tightness. Repeated exposures may cause bronchitis, with symptoms of cough and shortness of breath. Formaldehyde is classified by the NOHSC as a Category 2 carcinogen (substance that should be regarded as if it is carcinogenic to humans)”.

Buying clean second hand furniture is better for the health of the air in your baby’s room, and therefore baby’s lungs. Source items that only have superficial damage to resist the temptation of sanding it back and repainting as you’ll be nullifying the benefits of aged off-gassed furniture. Excited new parents wanting the ‘best’ for their baby make the common mistake of heading out and buying all brand new shiny furniture usually straight from China, slapping new paint on the walls and laying new carpet full of carcinogenic glues and backing in baby’s room. This in itself is a bad scenario but it is usually exacerbated by this room staying shut up until baby is born condensing the issue and creating a toxic pit of gasses. Continuous off-gassing will usually persist for a couple of years with it’s most intense off-gassing in the first year. This makes for an extremely toxic environment for your newborn baby’s tiny lungs and they don’t have the capacity to tell you they’re in pain with symptoms of exposure to these air pollutants like Formaldehyde. See more info in “Your House is a Toxic Soup”. Ask your friends if they have items to lend or sell and if that fails search Ebay or your local Trading Post for sturdy, well maintained items you won’t need to repaint. They rarely have too much wear and tear as nursery furniture isn’t exposed to high traffic like a dining table or couch. Or if you must purchase brand new do it as early as possible and put it in an area that is well ventilated so it has at least 9 months to off-gas. Paint baby’s room with ‘Low VOC’ paint (becoming readily available at hardware stores) as soon as possible and lay natural fibre carpet. Sisal, wool, coir, woven paper. Here’s one good website I’ve found www.naturalfloor.com.au but just Google “natural carpet” and nosey around to learn more. I might also write an article dedicated to safe flooring in the home. Stay tuned.

Remember when buying brand new that cheap is cheap for a reason. Somewhere down the production line someone always pays, and it’s not always financial, it’s with their health. (The Story of Stuff) Even expensive furniture can have cheap materials incorporated into the finished product to improve profit margins.

Research well, prepare early and feel at ease with your choices for your baby’s room.

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Comments (1)

  • February 11, 2011 at 5:04 pm |

    [...] is typically a matter of months or years.” This is my primary reason for stating in article Hand me Downs “Old is Gold!” Buy second hand and the majority of offgassing will have already taken [...]

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