What the VOC?

No, really, what is VOC?

Volatile Organic Compounds

That fresh paint smell is actually a nasty chemical that is evaporating into air fumes. These chemicals are called VOCs and are often leftover from the manufacturing process of common household items. These fume-emitting toxins dissipate with time, it is a slow process and can be dangerous.

Why am I reading this here?

Because wooden toys, such as blocks, play furniture, and puzzles, and their manufacturing process (including the type of wood used and the way that the wood was treated) can sometimes cause them to have comparable VOC levels to their plastic counterparts.

Toys made with pressed wood, such as particleboard and plywood may contain formaldehyde. Additionally, the paints and sealants used in production may cause a wooden toy to off-gas VOCs.

Kids, especially those suffering from asthma and allergies, are at a particular risk making a VOC-free environment a growing priority.


This seems odd to hear, but for a painted product, VOCs chemical off-gassing is at its worst in the first year of a product’s life. The older the product, the less likely it is to contain harmful VOC chemicals. So get a fresh start and wipe down new toys, furniture, and accessories, and allow plenty of time to air out before introducing them into your child’s life.

Find toys with low or no VOCs

Before you buy an item, you can check to see what it is made of to avoid products with VOCs. Not all companies are transparent about what they are selling.

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