The Importance of Low VOC Stains in Contract Furniture

The Importance of Low VOC Stains in Contract Furniture

The importance of low VOC stains in contract furniture and low VOC finish options cannot be overemphasized.

But what, exactly, are VOCs, and why are they important?

Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are chemical compounds released as gases from certain solids or liquids, and which may also lead to adverse health effects. Concentrations of most VOCs are consistently two to ten times higher indoors than outdoors.

Household products containing organic compounds include paints, varnishes, cleaning products, disinfecting products, cosmetics, degreasing and an array of hobby products. Fuels of all types are made up of organic chemicals. All of these can potentially release organic compounds when using them, and some while stored.

In addition to the indoor pollution created, VOCs find their way outside, contributing to air quality concerns outdoors. In California, for example, it’s been estimated that approximately two-thirds of VOC emissions come from paints and coatings.

Health issues from exposure to VOCs

In addition to pollution concerns, exposure to VOCs can result in a variety of health problems. The severity of symptoms can depend upon degree and duration of exposure, along with individual susceptibility and may include:

  • Eye and respiratory tract irritation
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Allergic skin reaction
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Potential damage to liver, kidney and central nervous system
  • Some can cause cancer in animals, as well as humans


What to look for in stains and finishes

Oil-based paints and stains have high VOC levels. Avoid epoxies and oil-based formulas with added dryers. Seek water-based stains and finishes, without biocides or added dryers.
Besides darkening the wood, another advantage the stains provide is protection against ultraviolet (UV) rays. This extends the life of furniture, which in turn has benefits for the environment, and budget concerns, due to less frequent replacement costs.

Northland uses only low VOC stains in contract furniture and finishes

At Northland, the well-being of our customers and their guests, as well as the health of our planet, is our concern. Reducing volatile organic compounds is one important step towards that end. We use low VOC stains in contract furniture, as well as low VOC finishes.

For over 40 years, Northland has had our clients in mind, and you can count on that continuing for the next 40 years and beyond.