Although formaldehyde occurs naturally in the world and is found in many commonly consumed foods like apples, mushrooms and some meat products, does not mean that it’s safe when used as part of timber treatments.
“Its status is more complicated than that. And that’s where the trouble starts. Even at low levels, formaldehyde can irritate the eyes, nose, throat and skin or trigger an attack in asthma sufferers. Timber workers’ exposure to very high levels of formaldehyde over many years has been linked to rare nose and throat cancer and leukaemia.”
It’s known that the youngest and oldest members of our communities are the most vulnerable to the effects of formaldehyde, as well as those suffering from respiratory problems. “The World Health Organisation considers formaldehyde to be a human carcinogen, so reducing your formaldehyde exposure where possible is the best thing for your health.”
The issue is, we don’t always know where our timber comes from or if it has been treated with this toxin, or any other dangerous chemicals. “If the timber in your home isn’t certified, there is no way of knowing what chemicals are coming into your home,” Alan of Di Legno Flooring says.
Di Legno specialises in engineered timber flooring, and focuses particularly on ensuring the timbers they use are free of formaldehyde and other chemicals. “It goes further than just avoiding these toxins though, it’s about ensuring the wood we use is sustainable,” Alan says. All timber used in Di Legno’s products is sourced from sustainably managed plantations and is certified.
A sustainable forest is a forest that is carefully managed so as trees are felled, they are replaced with seedlings that eventually grow into mature trees. It is a carefully and skillfully managed system; the forest is a working environment, producing wood products such as wood pulp for the paper and card industries, and wood-based materials for furniture manufacturers and the construction industry. In a well managed forest, great care is taken to ensure the safety of wildlife and to preserve the natural environment.”
In order to ensure their timber comes from forests such as these and is free from toxins, Di Legno ensures all material they use is Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified. FSC is one of the most trusted global sustainability markers for timber.
“FSC addresses issues such as illegal logging, deforestation and global warming,” Alan says. Using FSC certified product signifies that the timber comes from responsible sources – environmentally appropriate, socially beneficial and economically viable.”
Di Legno chose to head in this sustainable direction with their products not only because of the environmental benefits, but as a result of the rising need for specific products to be used within the home because of allergy sufferers. “So many people have allergies so the less allergens in the air the better in this day and age,” Alan says. “And we know some of the chemicals used in non-certified timber have serious side effects, such as nose and throat cancer.”