Thursday, February 7, 2013

Off-Gassing (It's as gross as it sounds!)

Wow, has it really been a week since I posted last? I guess when you're not buying things, there isn't always too much to report. I'm still going strong on the "buy nothing new" year, and despite the absence of "new and exciting" purchases in my life, I am quite happy, well-equipped, and generally content. The goodwill pile is also building up and I'm feeling just a little less stressed with every useless bit of clutter that I'm eliminating. Woohoo!

Anyway, I've been thinking a lot about off-gassing lately as the Significant Other and I have been building our couch (I know, I know, I need to post the pictures!). Part of the reason that we have been putting together a couch ourselves is to avoid exposure to the dangerous chemicals in flame retardants and other components of furniture. After a recent cancer scare, this is pretty important to us!

There are so many dangerous chemicals in the air we breathe in our homes, cars, and offices these days. I used to love the "new car smell," until I realized it was just chemical off-gassing from all the new material in the car. I also went into a store the other day for the first time in 5 weeks or so and got a headache from all the off-gassing of the new products. 

The EPA confirms that indoor air is far more polluted than outdoor air, and a recent study found 300 foreign chemicals inside a newly furnished baby's room versus only 2 foreign chemicals right outside the window. 

You can check out an article about the study here.

The article also suggests buying used as an important step in minimizing exposure to these synthetic and usually dangerous chemicals, so you know I like that. (Although used furniture still continues to off-gas -- at a much lower rate -- hence our decision to put together our couch ourselves!)

Off-gassing is another interesting thing to consider when contemplating a new purchase. Do I really want to bring known carcinogens into my house, and support their continued use through my purchase?  Just another motivator for me to stick with used and handmade!

1 comment:

  1. geez... the more I learn about out-gassing, the more prevalent and dangerous it sounds. I didn't think that toxins in couches etc mattered as long as you didn't try to eat your cushions. But the toxins get into the air, the dust, your clothes, your lungs... and manufacturers seem to indiscriminately add them to most household products. I HOPE that manufacturers use these chemicals out of ignorance and with the best intentions, and that they'll redesign their products without unnecessary added chemicals as soon as they realize how harmful they are to their consumers.