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What will be the effect on child in a room furnished using low VOC oil based polyurethane?

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Practicing since : 2004
Answered : 1210 Questions
We had our hardwoods floor refinished and they used a low VOC oil based polyurethane. After the job was done we waited a little over a week to go back home. The smell was still very strong so we left again after 2 days. Then we waited another 2 weeks to return home. Although the strong smell was not there it was still lingering. My concern is that my 1.5 year old could have been severely hurt by the toxic fumes that could have been lingering. I had her mostly upstairs and used air-purifier and opened windows but I am concerned if those 2 days could have done damage to her or if the return home after a month could have? I am stressing I gave her leukemia. What is the chance that she could become severly ill from this and if so how long would it take to show up? After 7 weeks we had the floors removed because I was nervous they would pose risk for a long time to come. Please let me know your thoughts as I am extremely concerned. Thank you.
Posted Wed, 1 Aug 2012 in Child Health
Answered by Dr. Indranil Ghosh 6 hours later

Thanks for writing in.

There is no direct eveidence that Low VOC polyurethane can cause cancer in humans. Some compounds present in these can induce cancers in mice but that requires very high concentrations which are not attained in routine use. As a result international authorities do not consider these as carcinogens (something which causes cancer).

Especially that you came to the house so long after the procedure virtually annuls any risk that might have been present.

Please do not think that you have given your kid leukemia, I don't think there is any reason to believe that.

Take care.
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