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Last updated on January 23rd, 2019
Recently, I came across a non-toxic furniture brand called Pure Upholstery, and I interviewed its owner, Donna Halloran. Today I want to tell you about the non-toxic sofas, chairs, sectionals, ottomans, throws, arm covers, headboards and completely custom pieces Pure Upholstery makes. Please read further as there will be a discount code you can use.
What constitutes a non-toxic couch?
Before we get into the details of Pure Upholstery and why I like them so much, let’s talk about what constitutes a non-toxic couch.
A true non-toxic couch is made of natural or organic fabrics certified by the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) and organic latex (aka natural rubber) foam certified by the Global Organic Latex Standard (GOLS). The wooden frame is normally made of solid wood and the wood is finished with low VOC lacquer or finish.
I think the most important difference between conventional and non-toxic upholstered furniture that may impact our health lies in the foam. Normally, conventional upholstered furniture is made of polyurethane foam from carcinogenic, petroleum-based, diisocyanates. In this post, you can read about the potential health harms of polyurethane foam to the workers who make it, the environment, and to us consumers and why CertiPur polyurethane foam is not good enough.
Depending on your situation, e.g. if you are pregnant or have a new baby or just got diagnosed with cancer, you might postpone buying polyurethane foam furniture or go for a non-toxic couch such as the one I’d like to tell you about today.
Non-toxic furniture, on the other hand, is made of natural rubber foam that is derived from the sap of rubber trees. To make sure that natural rubber is truly natural without synthetic and harmful additives, look for natural rubber that is certified by the GOLS.
Pure Upholstery was founded by Donna Halloran. She has decades of experience as a designer of healthy furniture. I was happy to learn that she started her own company. While I have not experienced her organic furniture myself yet, after speaking with Ms. Halloran, I am confident of her integrity and skills as a furniture maker.
For example, when I talked to her about ordering some furniture, she asked me questions about things that I did not know would make a difference. Apparently, your body size matters to determine whether a couch or a chair will be comfortable for you. She gave really good tips to determine whether a fabric will hold up for a high traffic item.
Pure Upholstery makes all their products in the US. They make non-toxic couches, chairs, sectionals, ottomans, throws arm covers, headboards and custom pieces.
The ingredients they use are the purest I have seen. They use GOLS-certified organic natural rubber foam. Ms. Halloran sent me their GOLS certification which is up to date.
By the way, when you are looking to buy a non-toxic couch or a non-toxic mattress, do not just rely on the manufacturer’s word for it, ask for the relevant certifications and make sure they are current.
Pure Upholstery products are also constructed with organic wool, organic cotton, and a big variety of fabrics to choose from. Some fabrics are certified to GOTS and some are certified by OEKO-Tex.
Pure Upholstery wood frames are made of 100% solid wood, which is important from the standpoint of durability and toxicity. Engineered wood can emit carcinogenic formaldehyde.
And I love the fact that Pure Upholstery uses Rubio Monocoat Oil Plus 2C as their finish on the wooden parts of their organic furniture.
A word on the wood finish
First, let me praise Ms. Halloran for disclosing the name of the finish used in their organic couch, chair, and sectional models. As simple as it sounds, it is not very common. In my experience researching upholstered furniture, dining room tables, cribs, and wooden toys, often the companies try to persuade us that their wooden finishes are non-toxic, safe, and even organic (there is no such thing as an organic finish or a lacquer or a paint), while they do not provide any documentation to back up their claims. Moreover, most manufacturers do not even disclose the name of the finish they use. That is especially characteristic of furniture made abroad.
The reason we want to know the name of the wood finish is so that we can research the finish independently of the non-toxic couch manufacturer.
With this said, now let’s talk about the finish that Pure Upholstery uses on their organic furniture. The main ingredient of Rubio Monocoat Oil Plus 2C is made of linseed oil (aka flax oil). There are other undisclosed ingredients, which is, unfortunately, common. Paint and finish manufacturers are not required by law to disclose ingredients. Since I was not satisfied with the information on the Rubio Monocoat website, I gave them a call and they emailed me the Safety Data Sheet as well as an independent lab test report for VOCs (volatile organic compounds).
The Safety Data Sheet showed that Rubio Monocoat Oil Plus 2C does not contain harmful chemicals that need to be declared by the European Union. And the lab reports showed 25.2 mg/L of VOCs, which classifies it as zero VOCs according to the US standards. For comparison, the amount of VOCs is much lower than in AFM Safecoat Naturals Penetrating Oil that was applied on the organic sectional we purchased in 2014.
I also found Rubio Monocoat Oil Plus 2C on the Eurofin website as certified to Eurofins Indoor Air Comfort standard for low VOCs. I also like the fact that Rubio Monocoat Plus 2C is made in Belgium. So, I think Pure Upholstery made a very good choice.
Where to buy
And now let’s talk about the price. A non-toxic couch would cost on average more than a conventional one. However, some non-toxic furniture is more expensive than other non-toxic furniture. From my research, Pure Upholstery seems to be moderately priced among non-toxic brands; you can see their prices at the Pure Upholstery website. In addition, I really trust in Donna Halloran’s ability to guide me to help make the best choice.
And here is the best part. When you call and tell them my name (Irina Webb of I Read Labels For You), you will get 5% off.
In conclusion, I am really excited that you have an opportunity to buy Pure Upholstery organic furniture!
Let's start creating a healthy home today!
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