Is Rubberwood Toxic? The Truth Revealed

 

Rubberwood is a relatively new material that has become popular in furniture making in recent years. But is it safe to use? Is rubberwood toxic?

These are important questions to answer before purchasing any product made from this type of wood. In this article, we will discuss the safety and toxicity of rubberwood and provide some insight into its properties so that you can make an informed decision when shopping for furniture or other products made from this material.

 

Definition of Rubberwood

 

Rubberwood comes from the Pará rubber tree (Hevea brasiliensis), an evergreen tree native to South America. These trees can reach up to 130 feet high and often live for more than 100 years before they are cut down or die naturally. After the tree has been cut, the sap containing latex is extracted and processed into latex products such as tires, gaskets, and other items.

Once the sap has been harvested, the remaining trunk becomes rubberwood – a durable hardwood suitable for various uses. This timber undergoes several processes to produce wood suitable for furniture and flooring: milling, drying, sanding, gluing, and finishing.

 

is rubberwood toxic

 

Insecticides and Fungicides Used During Growing

 

The Pará rubber tree is often sprayed with insecticides and fungicides during its growth to protect it from pests and diseases. These chemicals can be absorbed into the wood, affecting the safety of the material when used in furniture or other products.

However, research has shown that these chemicals are not present in rubberwood at harmful levels. It may be because the seasoning process used on rubberwood reduces any remaining pesticide residues.

 

Overview of Potential Toxins Used in Processing

 

The use of certain chemicals in the processing of rubberwood can present a potential risk to human health. Common toxins used in the production process include formaldehyde, toxic pigments and dyes, lacquers, solvents, and petroleum-based products. Formaldehyde is commonly used as a bonding agent, while pigments and dyes are used to give rubberwood its distinct color.

Lacquers are often used to seal and protect the wood from moisture and other elements. Finally, solvents and petroleum-based products are sometimes used as coatings and adhesives. Even though some of these toxins are potentially hazardous to humans, their concentration levels must pass international standards for safety before it can be considered safe for use in furniture or flooring.

 

Non-Toxic Rubberwood Certificates

 

To make sure your rubberwood furniture or flooring is finished with non-toxic finishes, look for products with the following certifications:

 

Greenguard GOLD

 

Greengard Gold is a certification standard developed by Greenguard Environmental Institute (GEI), an independent, non-profit organization specializing in indoor air quality testing and certifying products. The Greengard Gold certification is a rigorous program that evaluates thousands of chemicals and their potential to emit VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) into the air.

The certification ensures that products and materials designed for indoor spaces meet low-chemical emissions standards. Products certified with the Greengard Gold label are considered to be safe for indoor use, providing a healthier living and work environment.

 

Cradle to Cradle

 

The Cradle to Cradle (C2C) certification program, developed by McDonough Braungart Design Chemistry (MBDC), is an independent certification designed to evaluate the environmental impact of products, materials, and processes. The C2C program requires manufacturers to design products with five criteria in mind: material health, material reuse, renewable energy use, water stewardship, and social fairness.

The aim of this program is to create a “circular economy” where products can be used over and over again without any negative environmental impact.

 

Sustainable Furnishings Council

 

The Sustainable Furnishings Council (SFC) is a non-profit organization that promotes sustainability in the home furnishings industry.

The SFC’s certification program requires furniture manufacturers to use renewable energy, reduce their water and energy consumption, eliminate hazardous materials and develop products with a long lifespan. The SFC also provides educational resources and encourages transparency in the manufacturing process.

 

Floorscore

 

Floorscore is an independent certification program developed by the Resilient Floor Covering Institute (RFCI). This certification evaluates flooring materials for their ability to reduce VOC emissions, providing healthier indoor air quality. Manufacturers must meet strict standards for VOC emissions to receive the Floorscore certification.

You can also ask the manufacturer for information about the finishes and other chemicals used in their products to make an informed decision about the safety of their rubberwood furniture or flooring.

 

Where to Buy Non-Toxic Rubberwood Furniture?

 

If you’re looking for sustainable and non toxic rubberwood furniture, check out Thuma‘s collection. Famous for their Greenguard GOLD certified, minimalistic, squeak-free bed frames, they use repurposed rubberwood from old rubber tree plantations to create stunning, long-lasting pieces.

The wood they use is sustainably sourced, and FSC certified, which means it meets the standards set out by the Forest Stewardship Council and has been harvested in an environmentally friendly way. Their finishes are non-toxic and water-based, giving you a healthy, eco-friendly choice for your home. With their sleek designs, you can get the modern look you want without compromising on quality or safety.

 

Thuma Bed
From $795

Material: Repurposed and upcycled rubberwood

Finish: Natural Oil

Warranty: Lifetime

 

Rubberwood Sustainability

 

Rubberwood has several sustainable advantages when compared to other types of wood:

  • It is a renewable resource since it comes from rubber trees that are harvested and replanted. Once a rubber tree has reached the end of its life cycle and is no longer producing sap, it can be replaced with a new tree.
  • It is strong and durable, making it suitable for furniture and other products. It means it won’t need to be replaced as often as other woods.
  • Rubberwood can be recycled or repurposed once it is no longer being used.
  • The production of rubberwood provides an alternative source of income for local communities in South America. By harvesting the trees and processing their timber, these communities can earn money to contribute to the economy and improve their standard of living.

 

Other Benefits of Rubberwood

 

In addition to its sustainability, rubberwood also offers several other benefits:

  • It is lightweight and easy to transport.
  • It is resistant to shrinking and cracking.
  • The grain of rubberwood has a unique and beautiful pattern.
  • It can be easily stained or painted to match any style you desire.
  • It is often less expensive than other types of wood because the rubberwood tree grows quickly.

 

Are Any Drawbacks to Rubberwood?

 

There are some drawbacks to using rubberwood that should be considered:

  • It absorbs moisture, so it is not ideal for outdoor use or spaces with high humidity.
  • It may be prone to insect and fungus infestations, so it should be treated with a protective finish.
  • It’s not recommended for people allergic to latex since it can release particles into the air.

 

Read More: Best Non-Toxic Outdoor Furniture

 

Conclusion

 

If you’re looking for non-toxic furniture, rubberwood is an excellent option. It’s a durable, sustainable wood that looks great and can last for years to come. Plus, it’s affordable compared to other hardwoods, making it a great choice for anyone looking for furniture with both style and substance.

With its many benefits, rubberwood is sure to be a hit in your home or patio. Just make sure you pick rubberwood furniture that comes with a Greenguard GOLD or C2C to make sure it´s non-toxic and safe. Happy shopping!

 

Read More: How to Speed Up Furniture Off-Gassing?

 

About the Author Kamila Flieger

My name is Kamila, and I'm passionate about researching non-toxic, organic products for the home. I believe it's so important to create a safe and healthy environment for our families, and I enjoy helping others do the same.

follow me on:

Leave a Comment:

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.

Close