Things have changed at the local grocery store. Along with the new bread house (purposely built storage for premium specialty breads and artisan baked goods) came a strong, acrid and chemical smell. On entering the store I’m greeted with this pungent smell that makes my nose, eyes and throat respond in alarm. It’s permeated the entire bread section and no longer am I craving those carbs.
What causes this smell? VOC – Volatile Organic Compounds
They’re used to cure particleboard, MDF and other composite timber products.
Typically, chemicals like formaldehyde are used. It’s toxic to humans and most widely known for it’s use in embalming fluid.
These chemicals off gas (or release gas into the atmosphere) over a period of time from manufacture.
This particular display has been ‘off gassing’ instore, filled with bread and baked goods, and next to specialty dairy products, for about two months. As the shelving was installed following manufacture (and without any off gassing in an open environment) it has taken longer to dissipate, and has affected the store’s air quality, customers and likely products.
This could be relevant to home furniture purchases as well.
Consider your options before buying new furniture, so you know what you’re getting and how it has been handled.
Second hand furniture has already ‘off gassed’ and newer premium timbers, such as bamboo don’t have the same chemical composition as composite timbers.