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Toxin-Free Furniture That Is Safe For Your Home

by Geraldine Grandidier, founder of Tidy Books.

Toxin free Furniture

Recently, I’ve been reading a lot about indoor air pollution and I am alarmed to discover that the air in our homes can be up to five times more polluted than the air outside.

It’s all down to VOCs – Volatile Organic Compounds – which can be found in everything from air fresheners to new furniture. These VOCs are toxic pollutants that evaporate into the air and they’ve been associated with health problems such as allergies, asthma and respiratory disease.

I have personal experience of VOCs. Not long after setting up Tidy Books, I noticed a strong toxic smell coming from a new consignment of bookcases. I made enquiries and found out that the smell was caused by VOCs in the acrylic lacquer that we used on our furniture. I was horrified! I was told that the bookcases should have been aired for longer in the factory before being sent out, but to me that wasn’t a solution. I didn’t want my workforce being exposed to VOCs and to be breathing in harmful toxins.

Once I’d heard about VOCs, I did more research and realised they could be harmful to my customers as well. There was absolutely no way I wanted anything to do with VOCs, so I looked around for a safer alternative. That’s when I stopped using acrylic lacquer altogether and replaced it with eco-friendly water lacquer, which hardly emits any VOCs.

Now, reading more about pollution in the home, I’m so glad Tidy Books furniture isn’t bringing in harmful pollutants and contributing further to the problem.

It’s funny how things work out too, because switching to water lacquer had an unexpected bonus. The acrylic lacquer we used to use was so thick it completely covered the wood, leaving the furniture with an unnatural high-gloss finish that I always thought spoilt the look. When using water lacquer, you can see the wood grain and all the lovely natural markings, which allows the wood to be the star that it should be.

I have to say I’m pretty pleased with the way things turned out. I couldn’t have continued my business using VOCs – I now design and manufacture furniture that doesn’t just look good in the home, it’s also safe for you, our workers and the planet.

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Tidy Books is exclusive to NEST in South Africa.

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