Sustainable Choices: Part 4

It seems simple that chemicals should be avoided, but we fail to realize how much chemicals are used on the products that we purchase and then bring into our home. We interact with numerous objects on a daily basis, but do we consider the types of chemicals that have been used to treat that product and how it can affect our health in the long term?

A prime example of chemical products we often ignore is the flame retardant chemicals in fabrics or carpets. Not many people know that this widely used chemical process is now having negative affects on people’s health. Studies have shown that people’s hormones and reproductive systems, infants’ brain development and thyroid functions have been affected by the use of this flame retardant treatment.

When selecting a material do not neglect to check what chemical process that material must go through before it enters your home.

The flame retardant is just one example of the many chemicals to watch out for. A great way to decide on what material has the most sustainable treatment is to see what third party certifications have been assigned to the material. Be cautious about ‘green washing’. Companies are good at making a material appear sustainable or giving the impression in the advertising that it is certified, but has not been distinguished by a third party. The ultimate goal is to remain conscientious in your decisions, for every one you make has an impact, whether you realize it or not. Luckily for you there have been tremendous amounts of research and organizations have worked hard to guarantee environmentally and human health friendly products for your home.

Here are some links to a few articles that can help you make informed decisions:

Environment 360

Building Products and Materials

Green Building

One way we are doing our part is by offering product lines that are conscious of the chemicals that have become common place in our homes. Ashley Furniture Industries made the decision to discontinue use of flame retardants on their furniture and other retailers have promised to follow. There is controversial studies done on the fire safety benefits compared to the health concerns. The chemicals don’t break down into safer chemicals, build up in people and animals and have long term effects that we are only recently discovering since their use was required in furniture in 1975. In the building industry, 85% of the 80,000 chemicals in use are not tested for their effects on the human body and these chemicals can continue to leech throughout their life cycle. Find out more at Green Science Policy and NRDC.

We are a proud Ashley Furniture dealer.

Labels are required on all furniture that contains flame retardants. Ashley Furniture products are also labeled when flame retardants aren’t used to make it easier to determine. If your current furniture does contain flame retardants (and there is a very strong likelihood that it does), ensure that you vacuum it regularly and wash your hands after touching the furniture as flame retardant breaks down over time into a dust that can be inhaled and ingested. Contact us if you would like to make your home healthier by replacing your outdated furniture.

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