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Does Your Furniture Contain Formaldehyde?

way basics modular table setEditor’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.

An affordable alternative to particle board furnishings

“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.”

Visit their website at waybasics.com to learn more about this eco-modern furniture.


  1. Thank you for the information on Formaldehyde. The more we can keep our homes free of toxins, the better.

    -Deb for Ecover

  2. There are alternatives to wood products with Fomaldehyde. Ask for furniture, cabinets, built-ins and the like to be built with PureBond hardwood plywood. It’s real wood, sustainably harvested, made in the US and Canada and uses a soy-based adhesive so there is no added formaldehyde. Go to http://www.cfpwood.com for more info.

  3. mike arrow says:

    Do people realize formaldehyde is in our bodies, in the carpet on the floor, in the draperies at the window, in the fabric on the upholstered furniture in our homes?

    Many years ago when lab rats were exposed to formaldehyde levels (many many times the exposure a human would ever be exposed to) the rats developed nasal tumors. With those flawed findings began the assault against formaldehyde and products that contained formaldehyde.

    Is that to say then humans are toxic? Carpet? Fabrics used in home decorative items??

  4. You scared me for a minute! I saw the image of the Way Basics furniture, of which I am a big fan, and saw the title and thought the worst. It is scary to think that we are constantly surrounding ourselves with toxic chemicals, so often without even realizing it.

  5. nice article. I myself am very concerned about the formaldehyde and other toxins surrounding us every day in our homes, so i have done some research and writing on it as well. thank you!


  6. Ed Mickulas says:

    I wish everyone could see what formaldehyde has done to me. My body loos like raw hamburger from the everyday cloths I wore and the personal products i used. It’s about time the regulations are tightened up. There are alternatives, but those of us with an allergy to the chemical know it’s not easy to find them and certainly not cheap. I went nearly 60 years with no reaction to the stuff, but when it hit, it hit with a vengeance. Do yourself and everyone you know to boycott ALL products with this dangerous, dangerous chemical

  7. Michael Conner says:

    My wife & I recently bought some new furniture (couch & love seat) at Marlo’ Furniture Store. Every time my wife sits on the furniture, she breaks out in Red Welts on her arms and the back of her neck. We have contacted Marlo’s Customer Service numerous times to no avail. We have already had the furniture professionally cleaned and exterminated thinking that would eliminate the problem. I guess we’ll be in the market for more new furniture, but not at Marlo’s!

  8. I was about to purchase a couple of dining chairs today when I noticed on the box that contained the chairs, was the phrase: 93120 Compliant for formaldehyde Phase 2. Can someone tell me what this means? Oh yeah, by the way, I decided not to purchase the chairs. Was this a good move?


  1. […] It’s all about reducing your toxic load as much as you can, and remember…every bit counts! Read this!For now, just be aware – that’s all we’re getting at here.Try getting used furniture made […]

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