A recent study by UL shows that many wood finishes on the market release hazardous chemicals into the air such including known carcinogens and reproductive toxins. Researchers found that 80 percent of today’s wood finishes emit some level of toxic VOCs. The researchers tested air samples during application, in the hours after, and as long as seven days later.
Traditional solvent-based floor coatings –those that use mixtures of turpentine, white spirits, and other toxic solvents – off-gas over 60 chemicals, including some linked to cancer and reproductive harm. For instance, one of the many toxic chemicals released in high levels in the study included 2-ethylhexanoic acid, which poses a significant safety risk to pregnant women and women of child-bearing age.
The study also tested traditional water-based coatings, many of which include n-methylpyrrolidone (NMP). NMP has been linked to birth defects and miscarriage – this group of wood floor finishes released toxic levels of NMP throughout the test. Finally, UL tested advanced, “clean” water-based coatings that do not use known toxic solvents. In the study, Vermont Natural Coatings’ patented PolyWhey® Floor Finish met the strict emissions standards of GREENGUARD Gold Certification.
Learn more about the UL GREENGUARD standards and how to keep toxic VOCs out of your home!