Blogging the SF Chronicle: Attack of the Killer Furniture

Blogging the SF Chronicle: Attack of the Killer Furniture

Jonathan B.
Oct 24, 2007

"Might" and "could" are two words frequently attached to green products. Today, The San Francisco Chronicle ran this provocatively titled piece; in the print edition, it ran as "Attack of the Killer Furniture." It's about furniture that offgasses and calls for certification standards. But we're not wild about introducing another jumble of letters to the alphabet soup of certifications already out there.

Instead, we think a much simpler approach might work.

Food has a list of ingredients. Why shouldn't the things you put in your home?

Manufacturers of some goods, like cleaning solutions and paints, have a somewhat valid reason to withhold the formula of their products, but even then, it's all about precise ratios and mixing technology, so it's unlikely a competitor could duplicate a product on the basis of an ingredient list alone. (For proof, pick a packaged processed food out of your cupboard and try to recreate it—good luck with those Cheez It crackers!)

For furniture, a simple list of components could indicate the presence of chipboard, MDF, and other materials that are likely to offgas. Sometime we get frustrated because when people want to go green, it seems like human nature to choose the most complicated option.
Image by LucasWard via

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