Toxins in chipboard, PVC flooring and vinyl wallpaper

Tests show softeners and formaldehyde in hardware store products

Chipboard can contain formaldehyde © Rotor DB / CC-by-sa 3.0
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If you want to renovate your apartment, you should look carefully when shopping in the hardware store: NDR testers have found in samples in particleboard, PVC flooring and vinyl wallpaper harmful substances that outgas in the course of time and thus pollute the room air. While mainly formaldehyde was found in chipboard, plastic products were mainly softeners - substances that are hormone-like and promote obesity, diabetes and possibly eczema.

That many furniture and building materials can contain harmful substances is not new. But now it shows that we also bring formaldehyde, plasticizers and Co into the house - when we renovate and buy the corresponding materials in the hardware store. In order to test the load on typical wall and floor components, testers for a reportage from the consumer and business magazine "Markt" bought samples from the four largest DIY chains Bauhaus, Hornbach, Max Bahr and Obi. The materials were then tested for toxic ingredients in a laboratory.

Formaldehyde in chipboard

The result of the laboratory tests is frightening, it says: carcinogenic formaldehyde was found in all tested chipboard for interior design, used for example in the kitchen, bedroom, nursery. "In the short-term test, all chipboard boards have achieved values ​​that are above the guideline value of the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment, " criticizes Heidrun Hofmann from the Bremen Environmental Institute.

The Kiel toxicologist Hermann Kruse warns: "Even in low doses we have to expect the worst with formaldehyde. I am surprised that formaldehyde is still used in particleboard quantities. "On NDR's request, Max Bahr and Obi state that they have a so-called declaration of non-objection by their supplier. Bauhaus and Hornbach want to check their chipboard.

Plasticizers in PVC floors and vinyl wallpaper

In addition to chipboard, all DIY stores in the NDR sample sell PVC flooring with sometimes very high levels of plasticizers. "These plasticisers are not firmly chemically bound in the PVC, " explains Kruse. "By abrasion, they can of course also get into the dust and then be absorbed by crawling children on the ground." Plasticizers are considered substances that can affect and disturb the hormonal system of humans and animals, in high concentrations they also act as a neurotoxin. display

The result was frightening for all tested vinyl wallpapers from the four DIY stores, according to NDR. Gro fl chig these are brought to the wall at home. However, some of the substances that cause illness are also released into the room air via the wallpaper: phthalates as plasticizers, which can lead to cancer at elevated levels. Confronted with the results, Hornbach writes that PVC flooring and vinyl wallpaper would outweigh the positive qualities of many customers. Bauhaus refers to a declaration of non-objection, Max Bahr wants to hold back with his supplier. Obi does not comment on that.

Joint sealant also charged

The laboratory commissioned by the NDR also finds toxic substances in the joint sealants of Bauhaus and Max Bahr. Bauhaus is a high concentration of harmful compounds. Confronted with the result, Bauhaus wrote to the NDR: "As a precaution, we have blocked this product until further clarification for the sale." At Max Bahr, the testers found harmful substances that are hardly volatile, "They evaporate for months, over years, " says Kruse. "Neurotoxic substances attack the nervous system, which leads to fatigue and a lack of concentration." The DIY store Max Bahr explains this result: "We currently have your information examined by the manufacturer."

More about this topic in the program "The tricks of the construction industry" 06. May 20:15 clock on NDR.

(NDR, 06.05.2013 - NPO)