Toxic office furniture?

Is water-and stain-proofed furniture a risk to your health?

Armed with federal funding from the anti-chemical National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, Boston University School of Public Health researchers report correlating serum levels of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) with office air concentrations of fluorotelomer alcohol (FTOH), a polyfluorinated compound (PC) used to water- and stain-proof office furniture.

No health effects were connected with the serum PFOA or airborne FTOH.

As mere exposure is not toxicity, this study is a nothing burger.

The media release is below. Click here for the study.


First link between potentially toxic PFCs in office air and in office workers’ blood

In a first-of-its-kind study, scientists are reporting that the indoor air in offices is an important source of worker exposure to potentially toxic substances released by carpeting, furniture, paint and other items. Their report, which documents a link between levels of these so-called polyfluorinated compounds (PFCs) in office air and in the blood of workers, appears in ACS’ journal Environmental Science & Technology.

Michael McClean and colleagues explain that PFCs, used in water-repellent coatings on carpet and furniture, may have adverse effects on human health. The substances are widespread in the environment and in humans around the world. Scientists know that potential sources of exposure include food, water, indoor air, indoor dust and direct contact with PFC-containing objects. But the link between levels in air and blood had not been explored previously, so McClean’s group set out to fill that gap with a study of 31 office workers in Boston.

They found concentrations of a PFC called fluorotelomer alcohol (FTOH) in office air that were 3-5 times higher than those reported in previous studies of household air, “suggesting that offices may represent a unique and important exposure environment.” In addition, the study found a strong link between concentrations of FTOH in office air and perfluorooctanoic acid (a metabolite of FTOH) in the blood of office workers. The results also suggested that workers in newly renovated office buildings may receive considerably higher doses of PFCs than workers in older buildings.

8 thoughts on “Toxic office furniture?”

  1. The EPA has already banned thinking in their offices, so why not work (in the purely Physics context, since they do nothing productive already) next?

  2. For people who have chemical sensitivity there is no doubt that those things do cause problems, such as asthma and hayfever. They can also cause some breathing difficulties. However, this is usually only just after the product has been applied!!

  3. LKJ….. excellent!!!. You just penned the perfect disclaimer note for all studies emanating from the EPA, FDA, and every other Federal agency.

  4. This study may have some resemblance to valid, scientific research. ANy such resemblance is purely accidental and unintended.

  5. Me too. It’s like the new car smell that everybody loves. I intend to die one day, when God pulls the plug on me, and I’ll go knowing how great these smells were.

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