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Editors Note: Updated October, 2018
Have you ever purchased a new piece of furniture and noticed that it was emitting an unusual chemical order? What you’re smelling are VOC compounds, something that is created by adhesives that are used to bond manufactured wood. Eco friendly bathroom vanities are becoming more popular and we believe it’s time for consumers to start making the switch.
In recent years, a large emphasis has been placed on eco-friendly, low VOC home furnishings. The green movement has spurred a whole new market of eco friendly, sustainable materials. Consumers are searching for items that will protect the environment and keep themselves safe. Low VOC bathroom vanities are hard to find so I’ve curated this list for those looking for cabinets with low formaldehyde content.
After the gallery you will find useful information that will help educate you about VOCs and Formaldehyde content.
Table of Contents
- Why Cabinets Off-Gas VOC
- Eco Friendly Vanities – Materials List
- Formaldehyde Free
- Are VOC Odors Harmful?
- Is Formaldehyde Dangerous?
- Zero Formaldehyde Does Not Exist
- Tips to Reduce the Smell of Formaldehyde VOC
- Where to Find Low VOC and Low Formaldehyde Vanities
20 Eco Friendly Bathroom Vanities
1. Zola Rubberwood Single Vanity
Zola Single Vanity – $1,369.00
2. Alegra Single Sink Vanity
Bosconi Single Vanity – $1,109.00
3. Grand Crater Single Sink Vessel Sink Vanity
Grand Crater Single Vessel Vanity – $1,195.00
4. Oasis Double Vessel Sink Vanity
Oasis Double Vessel Sink Vanity – $2,560.00
5. Premiere Double Sink Vanity
Premiere Double Sink Vanity – $1,999.00
6. Weston Double Sink Vanity
Weston Double Sink Vanity – $2,771.00
7. Woodland Reclaimed Barn Wood Double Vanity
Woodland Bluestone Double Vanity – $1,995.00
8. Malibu Single Vanity Cabinet
Malibu Single Vanity – $1,575.00
9. Capella Wall Hanging Vanity
Capella Modern Wall Hanging Vanity – $699.00
10. Celine Double Sink Vanity
Celine Double Sink Vanity – $1,195.00
11. Berkeley Double Sink Vanity
Berkeley Double Sink Vanity – $1,749.00
12. Metropolitan Double Bath Vanity
Metropolitan Double Vanity – $1,838.00
13. Gemini Single Vessel Vanity
Gemini Single Vessel Vanity – $899.00
14. Caroline Avenue Single Bath Vanity – White
Caroline Avenue Single Vanity – $839.00
15. Naked Lune Single Bath Vanity
Naked La Lune Single Vanity – $899.00
16. Hampton Road Single Bath Vanity
Hampton Road Vanity – $2,280.00
17. Aquarius Single Bath Vanity
Moscony Double Sink Vanity – $1,799.00
18. Abba Single Wall Mounted Bath Vanity
Abba Wall Mounted Vanity – $999.00
19. Aria Single Bath Vanity
Aria Single Bath Vanity – $999.00
20. Grand Lune Single Bath Vanity – White
Grand Lune Single Bath Vanity – $1,199.00
VOC stands for Volatile Organic Compounds. These are chemicals that have a high vapor pressure at ordinary room temperature. This causes a large number of molecules to evaporate into the surrounding air. In layman’s terms, VOC compounds release harsh chemical odors into the air that can have a nauseating effect.
The majority of cabinets that are not made from solid wood (MDF and Plywood) use adhesives that contain Urea Formaldehyde to bond these sheet goods. In an effort to use safer building materials, many manufacturers are now using adhesives that contain Phenol Formaldehyde which is much safer. Natural wood contains Phenol Formaldehyde so it’s impossible to find 100% Formaldehyde Free bathroom vanities.
According to the EPA, Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) are emitted as gases from certain solids or liquids. Concentrations of many VOC’s are consistently higher indoors (up to ten times higher) than outdoors.
VOCs are Emitted By:
- Paints, lacquers, paint strippers, cleaning supplies, pesticides, building materials and furnishings, office equipment such as copiers and printers, correction fluids and carbon-less copy paper, graphics, and craft materials including glues and adhesives, permanent markers, and photographic solutions.
2. Eco Friendly Vanities – Materials List
The vanities I’m listing are eco friendly in the sense that they meet certain industry regulatory standards, similar to what you would see with WaterSense Certified of FSC Certified Wood (like Walker Zanger’s Anteak Tiles). Other eco-friendly bath vanity materials include Rubberwood and Solid Wood.
Rubberwood is a plantation hardwood that is an emerging source for sustainable materials. Rubberwood is typically used for its latex content but manufacturers have begun to find a function for every part of the tree in an effort to reduce wasted natural materials.
Solid wood vanities are different from MDF and Plywood vanities. Because of the fact that they made from solid wood, they use far fewer adhesives than these other vanities. The wood itself does not require adhesive glue but the drawers are usually made from MDF. This is a standard in the industry.
Formaldehyde is a type of VOC that is a byproduct of the manufacturing process. Formaldehyde is emitted by adhesives that bond MDF and plywood materials. This is common across the board and is not indicative of a low quality manufacturer.
Recently, Home Depot released a new line of Formaldehyde Free hardwood plywood’s. This is a great move in the right direction. Bosconi, a Tradewinds Imports supplier, also offers eco friendly bathroom vanities that have been certified with the same standards as Home Depot’s Pure Bond line. This certification is called the CARB PH2 Certification. Established in 2009, the California Air and Resource Board was formed to regulate formaldehyde emissions that are present in various composite wood products.
Formaldehyde is a colorless and strong-smelling gas that is emitting into the air. Inhaling air containing low levels of formaldehyde can cause burning and watery eyes. In more severe concentrations, formaldehyde VOCs can cause:
- Burning of the eyes and throat
- Difficulty breathing
- Negative effects on Asthma
Individuals who are chemically sensitive are more likely to notice the effects of formaldehyde and other various VOCs. Formaldehyde can also interfere with those who suffer from asthma.
According to the Formaldehyde Council, formaldehyde has no convincing evidence of increasing the risk of cancer. This conclusion was made following an extensive 20 year study. Contrarily, the Air Resources Board began listing formaldehyde as a Toxic Air Contaminant in California in 1992. CARB stated that there were no safe levels of formaldehyde exposure.
This poses a problem for the entire manufacturing and building industry as a whole because formaldehyde is present in adhesives and bonding agents but it’s not just because they are commercial grade materials. Formaldehyde is found in everything including glue that is used for arts and crafts. For this reason, there is a major debate surrounding the true significance of formaldehyde emissions within the home.
Previously I stated that formaldehyde was a highly toxic compound but I’ve dug even further into it and I’m not 100% certain due to the fact that major research organizations have come to conflicting conclusions. Still, I’d rather be safe than sorry.
There are some companies/manufacturers (not just with bathroom cabinets) that claim to provide Zero Formaldehyde Emission products. This is not possible and you should never believe these claims. There are however Low Voc and Low formaldehyde products that contain naturally occurring formaldehyde components but the manufacturer does not add any urea formaldehyde to the adhesives or binders. This may be what advertisers claim to be Formaldehyde Free; vanities without any urea formaldehyde to the adhesives.
Formaldehyde is naturally occurring in just about everything. It’s included in carbon, human blood, apples, tomatoes, milk, shrimp, and coffee, and many more ingested foods. That said, above are some solutions to help reduce the smell of formaldehyde and a list of vanities that have low VOC and/or formaldehyde content.
The effects are highest when the product is new. To reduce the odor, you should open your vanity and let it sit in the open for a couple of days to allow the smells to dilute before installing it into your bathroom. Along with this you can leave the extractor fan running overnight to cycle air through your bathroom.
As bathroom expert Linda Kahn (similar last name, no relation) pointed out, paints, finishes, and lacquers can all contain formaldehyde as well. It’s important to look for vanities that are finished with Low VOC Sealers.
Tradewinds Imports is a retailer of high end bathroom vanities. Their featured Premiere Collection features the highest level of vanities based on materials and build quality. For vanities with low VOC and low formaldehyde content, look for vanities made of solid wood, rubberwood, the Wyndham Collection, and vanities Made by Bosconi.
More Ways to Make Your Bathroom Eco Friendly:
- Eco-Friendly Solid Rubberwood Bathroom Vanities
- 7 Smart Bathroom Design Ideas Any Homeowner Will Love
- 10 Solid Wood Bathroom Vanities that Will Last a Lifetime
- What’s the Best Material for a Bathroom Cabinet
About the Author
Cheryl Khan is a designer and writer at Tradewinds Imports.com, an online specialty site dedicated to retailing fine bathroom furnishings. She has extensive knowledge about all the finer details that go into planning the perfect bath renovation project and is an expert on all things bathroom! Send her your bathroom Q’s on twitter @SuperInteriors!