Understanding Child Safe Coatings
Here at Obique, we take all the necessary precautions when designing and manufacturing furniture, so that it truly is child safe. From using water based paints and varnish, with no VOC (volatile organic compounds), to designing pinch free furniture with rounded edges, we always put children’s safety first.
Why should we always pay attention at the type of paint used on children’s products?
There is much to learn about the precautions you must take before buying anything for your home or nursery. As if the colour choices alone weren’t enough, you also have to take into account the dangers of volatile organic compounds (VOC), which are found in paints.
Generally you can choose between two types of paints: water based and solvent based paints (or oil-based paints). Solvent based paint contains a significantly higher level of VOC than water based paint and these solvents are responsible for the strong odour noticeable in all products painted with such paint. The solvent based paint is used on a large scale because it’s cheaper than using a water based one.
So what are these VOC and what are they used for?
As previously stated, VOC stands for “Volatile Organic Compounds” and are organic chemicals that have a high vapour pressure at ordinary room temperature. One of the volatile compounds commonly found in paint is formaldehyde, which evaporates from paint at room temperature. Formaldehyde can cause nausea or skin irritation, leading in some cases to contact dermatitis. Also, benzene can cause cancer and other serious health related problems.
These VOC emit gases because of their volatile state at room temperature and these gases are emitted long after the paint is dry. For some paints, it has been reported that only half of their VOC are emitted in the first year.
What are the health implications from VOC exposure?
Exposure to VOC can lead to many health problems from very serious ones, like cancer, to headaches, irritation of the ears, nose and throat. In cases where they were ingested, VOC caused kidney and liver damage, but also affected the nervous system.
- Eye irritation – redness, itchiness and tearing;
- Allergy and asthma symptoms are worsening;
Ok, but when does it become dangerous to your children and what is the incidence?
Each person reacts differently and we have to take into account the fact that our children are more vulnerable because of the size of their developing bodies. Children are closer to the ground and they’re in contact with chemicals on the floor, carpet or furniture. They’re always sticking their hands in their mouths and eyes and in this process transferring any chemical residue they pick up. Also, it is known that kids breathe in more air per minute than adults. Without knowing, many well-meaning parents are exposing their children to high levels of VOC.
Whenever you buy something for your children, for their safety, look at the type of paint used and not just the price.
For 100% safe children furniture, see our whole range of products specially created for kids.