Furniture is traditionally coated by one or more liquid products applied by an air pistol. The solvents used to ensure the fluidity of these products evaporate after application, and the resins contained within solidify to form a protective coating on the wood surface. In order to accelerate the polymerization of these products, the solvents are highly volatile and evaporate into the atmosphere.
In 2004, the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment published directives (available at www.ccme.ca) for the reduction of volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions created during the finishing procedures of wood furniture. This document, which has been delivered to the provincial ministers who will decide whether to adopt its recommendations, suggests that the furniture industry could reduce VOC emissions and proposes limits. Modifications to environmental standards will force the furniture industry to reduce the volume of VOC emissions released into the atmosphere. It is essential that solvent-free wood-finishing systems replace traditional systems inorder to respect the future VOC emission limits. The technology used for the application, the hardening method, and the product selected for the finish, include three key elements in the emissions reduction effort.