By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR® Magazine
Those kitchen cabinets may soon get pricier.
A new law recently signed by President Obama limits the amount of formaldehyde used in U.S. products. Formaldehyde can be found in the glue that holds wood together, often used in furniture, cabinets, and inexpensive wood products.
While the new law will make furniture greener — and safer to your health — some furniture-makers will likely need to increase the cost of their products as they explore an alternative to using formaldehyde. Some industry experts predict that furniture pricetags may increase anywhere from 5-15 percent on items that currently contain the formaldehyde-based glue.
In high doses, formaldehyde can be dangerous to your health. Health experts have linked it to respiratory problems and even cancer.
The health dangers of formaldehyde gained widespread attention after trailers for victims of Hurricane Katrina were banned when some victims experienced respiratory problems from the formaldehyde used in the trailers’ walls, cabinets, and ceilings, according to a recent article in USA Today (Furniture to be Greener, But Pricier by Jayne O’Donnell).
It could be at least three years before all products sold in the United States must meet the new guidelines, which limits formaldehyde emissions to 0.09 parts per million or less. In California, which paved the way for the federal law, furniture stores must comply sooner — Dec. 31, 2011.