Furniture and Furnishings

Furniture and furnishings can generally release gaseous compounds into indoor air. The strength of the emission source depends on the type of base materials, the adhesives and surface finishes used (lacquers, decorative foils, veneers, coatings, impregnations) and the quality of manufacture. In unfavorable cases, these emissions can have an impact on the health and well-being of room users.

© Shutterstock
the modern living room interior.3d design concept; Shutterstock ID 350513987; PO: 110639

Materials used to make furniture (e.g. chipboard, fiberboard, solid wood) release typical wood emissions. These mainly include organic acids, aldehydes and terpenes. Terpenes are odorous substances that can be released as natural components of wood products and natural paints and varnishes. They are also frequently used in fragrance mixtures. The group of aldehydes classified as odor-relevant is also released by wood, wood-based materials and other natural products. In addition, they are also formed as a decomposition product of unsaturated fatty acids, which may be contained in furniture coatings.

Paints and coatings usually contain various solvents and additives. The additives and their reaction products can be released into the room air during the curing process. In radiation-curing coating systems, photo initiators are also used, which decompose under UV radiation and trigger the curing process. Fragments and reaction products can therefore be detected in the room air.

Depending on the type of bonding and surface finish, other substances may be released into the room air, such as isocyanates (adhesives), formaldehyde (adhesives, wood-based materials) and carboxylic acids (coatings, impregnations).

Due to the low air exchange, emissions can accumulate in closed cabinets and shelves. When drawers and cupboard doors are opened, poorer air quality or an unpleasant odor can therefore be noticed. In addition, an increase in the indoor air concentration of volatile compounds is often observed after furniture has been unpacked, as these are released in concentrated form within a short period of time after the packaging has been opened.