Posted by: miriamjang | April 11, 2008

I recently posted this inquiry out to the DAN doctors group and had good answers from my colleagues:

Hi Everyone,
One of my patients wants to re-finish the hardwood floors in preparation to selling the house. The contractor told them that the toxic fumes would only be around for a week or so after the coatings are applied.
Intuitively, I feel that the toxic fumes, (“off gas”?) would be around for a long time and would be quite harmful to their Autistic child. Does anyone have any data on how long before the toxic fumes really are gone and does anyone have any non-toxic floor finishes?
Response 1:
We went through this.  There are water-based finishes now.

http://www.hardwoodinstaller.com/hardwoodinstaller/finishes-water.htm

http://www.hardwoodscene.com/Water-Based-Hardwood-Floor-Finish.asp

I think where we got into a lot of toxicity in ‘the old days” was in hand applying wax to the floors…that had out-gassing for a long time.  Some of the new finishes are more maintenance free.

Response 2:
A case study to be published in the online open access journal Environmental Health suggests that old wood floor finishes in some homes may be an overlooked …
http://www.thedailygreen.com/environmental-news/latest/pcb-floor-finish-47011508

Dust in rooms with vinyl miniblinds, wallpaper and flooring may also contain phthalates. …. http://www.ewg.org/reports/beautysecrets/execsumm.html
http://www.checnet.org/healthehouse/chemicals/chemicals-detail-print.asp?Main_ID=281

My hunch is that there is lingering offgassing of various molecules from many, perhaps most, even nearly all finishes.  Better to discount the cost of re-finishing, ie, the cost of differently toxifying.
This is a medical disclaimer: Please remember that this not meant as medical advice but as a desire to share information. Please always implement treatments under medical supervision. We are cannot be held liable for any of this information.

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