Recently I’ve been reading a lot about indoor air pollution and am alarmed to discover that the air in our home can be five times more polluted than outside air. It’s 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 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 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 and replaced it with eco-friendly water lacquer, which emits hardly any VOCs.
Now, reading about pollution in the home, I’m so glad Tidy Books furniture isn’t bringing in harmful pollutants and contributing 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. With water lacquer, you can see the grain and all the lovely natural markings, allowing the wood to be the star 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 – now I design and manufacture furniture that doesn’t just look good in the home it’s also safe for you, our workers and the planet.
* Interested in how we do things at Tidy Books? Find out more about our eco-friendly manufacturing