Thursday, March 10, 2016

Thursday 13

Outgassing, or off-gassing, is the odor that manmade products give off when they are put in a home. For example, last September we purchased new loveseats. They "off gassed" for some time, and then two months later one sofa broke and then two months after that the other broke, so the store replaced them. The new sofas arrived on March 1.

I have yet to sit on them, and have had to eat my meals in my office and watch TV in my bedroom. The odor has lessened, but I can still smell it on the sofas when I am near them.

This is often called the "new car smell" - but it has serious implications.

1. Off-gassing comes from synthetic fabric, vinyl, and cushioning, which sends gases into the air. Then we breath it. These volatile compounds can be dozens of times higher than the level recommended in indoor air.

2.  Common gases and compounds found from off-gassing include aldehydes, alcohols, plasticizers, aromatics, and alkanes. Formaldehyde is a common chemical found in off-gassing.

3. Carpeting, paints, adhesives, kitchen cabinets, and wall paneling, and new furniture can create off-gassing.

4. Some of the chemicals released during the off-gassing process can damage the immune system.

5. Off-gassing can damage antiques and art objects and interfere with telephones and other electronic devices. These devices give off their own form of off-gassing, so the air in a house is often full of items off-gassing simultaneously, creating unknown chemical mixes.

6. It can take six months or longer for off-gassing to cease. Some objects can emit odors five years later.

7. Materials around the product that is off-gassing can absorb the dangerous compounds, creating a multiple effect. This includes gypsum wall board, carpeting, draperies, and other things normally found in a house.

8.  Many of the chemicals released into the air when items "off gas" are carcinogenic.

9. Some synthetic materials tend to mold more quickly than natural products, creating additional health hazards and odors.

10. Furniture that "off gasses" can be taken outside and left to stink out there, if that is possible.

11. China takes the blame for much of the formaldehyde in furniture, but even furniture made in the USA (which mine is) can create problems. Formaldehyde is a common culprit because it’s used to cure particleboard, pressed-wood and plywood and other composite woods.

12. Side effects of off-gassing include headaches, dizziness, respiratory problems, nausea, skin irritation, shortness of breath, etc.

13. If you can't take the offending piece of furniture or whatever outside, try running air purifiers, opening windows and placing bowls of baking soda, white vinegar, and activated charcoal around the area of the furniture.


Thursday Thirteen is played by lots of people; there is a list here if you want to read other Thursday Thirteens and/or play along. I've been playing for a while and this is my 438th time to do a list of 13 on a Thursday.


  1. I'm trying to rid my home of all chemicals very very hard - bug spays of the environmental types not effective but its hard on you and animals -immune system especially

  2. Wow, that post was filled with good info. So much of what we buy to eat, sit on, have in our house, drive all have dangerous chemicals in them. No wonder we stay sick so much.

  3. We go new rugs last year. I felt for the rug layers because of the hazard and had to keep all the windows open for days. The whole thing makes me leary of "new."


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