Apr 20, 2007 11:33 pm
http://www.woodworkforums.ubeaut.com.au ... 289&page=2
im almost crying at the moment. ive just realised and will admit, that this is what i have ordered and paid for. when we went into showroom for design and order etc, we had no idea the kitchen would be imported. it wasnt until we had it delivered (minus all the door fronts and two cabinets which wernt ready on time) and noticed the chinese writing all over everything. not to mention 3 sheets of granite getting smashed to smitherines on the truck (a friend picked up the kitchen for us)
i dont know what to do now... ive never felt this regretful in my life
ive been burnt big time
surely this whole import situation is a good story for aca or the likes, i hate to think how many other unsuspecting people are falling into the same trap
i have sent a link to tt also
Re: imported flatpacks-proceed with caution, some are toxic2
Apr 21, 2007 8:25 am
That thread at Woodworkers was started by me - and I still stand behind everything I said.
I genuinely feel for you and applaud your decision to post here about your experience.
What happened to you is extremely unfortunate and it is very big of you to admit you "mistake" - but from the sounds of it the biggest mistake you made was trusting in the product being supplied to you and the integrity of the people supplying it.
I don't know where in Aus. you are (we are in Brisbane) but if there is anything we can do to help you we will.
We might be able to at least help you with replacing the carcasses for example - I can't promise anything but I would be happy to do something at cost in exchange for the work you are doing to get this issue in front of the greater public.
If you have to go ahead and install the chinese cabinets then be VERY careful.
Protect not only you lungs but also you're eyes and your skin while you are doing any work that involves cutting, screwing or drilling.
My comiserations to you - feel free to get in touch.
Re: imported flatpacks-proceed with caution, some are toxic3
Apr 21, 2007 10:51 am
thanks earl. but we are quite a few hours south of sydney even.
neither my husband or i will be installing the carcass's, but will suggest to the bloke who is, that he should wear one of them doctor mask things if he is drilling etc. i am about to ring the company and ask them where their cabinets are made, to see if they admit it or not.
then i think of the men i saw working in their 'knock up' factory unit. do they know that their employer is expsoing them to these dangers? i bet not. i was going to also ask the owner this, and advise them of this forum and my story submission to tt, but thought it best to wait until after they supply me with my doorfronts etc
will the kitchen still be a risk once its installed?
we havnt moved into this house yet, and wont be for a few weeks yet, so if i were to shut off hallway door when the kitchen is being fitted, request that the person installing it do all the drilling he can outside, open all windows and doors, ventilate for a few days, rigorous vacuum, would this reduce the risk to us?
im in disbelief now actually. i would never had thought of this. like most unassuming consumers, i go to a kitchen showroom, see what i like, am impressed by the price and give the green light.
now, some people may say i should have known or asked
im sure i dont stand alone when i say that in this day and age, with all the confusion over australian made-or not, its not a question i think to ask everytime i make a purchase. and thats not even my main concern, the alarming thing about this is the health risk.
so if it means ive made a fool of myself here for being so naive, i dont care, as long as its out there and hopefully i have given other people like myself some valuable information, insights into this.
had i have seen a thread like this prior to my walking into that place i would have been a lot better off.
sorry if ive rambled on
Re: imported flatpacks-proceed with caution, some are toxic4
Apr 21, 2007 11:00 pm
Unfortunately, your kitchen will still be a risk after it is installed. Your kitchen will continue to emit formaldehyde unless you completely seal all exposed edges and holes.
As Earl said, at least you are bringing this problem to the attention of a wider audience.
Every one should read this. Will your new kitchen kill you?
Re: imported flatpacks-proceed with caution, some are toxic5
Apr 21, 2007 11:15 pm
so i rang the company who has told me the granite benchtops come from 'overseas' but the cabinets are from australia. so is there any way i can tell for myself if these cabinets are toxic?
Re: imported flatpacks-proceed with caution, some are toxic6
Apr 21, 2007 11:33 pm
Hi, and commiserations about your predicament. Great that you are at least now doing what you can to address the situation.
It may be easy for me to say, but if I were you, I'd cut my losses and not fit the cabinets mentioned. But if you must, then I have a suggestion how to minimise the risks to do with formaldehydes or other volatile organic compounds (VOC's).
Take every precaution as you have said during installation. Then go through as many cycles as you have time for to 'bake out' the gases. This is how the BAKE-OUT METHOD works......
Close the kitchen (room) as tightly as possible (windows etc)
With cabinets open, direct heating directly at it. Flood lights, ceramic fan heaters, even industrial heaters. (CAUTION: place carefully so as to avoid overheating or risk of fire).
At intervals, switch off heaters, open all windows or doors to outside and use large pedestal fans to exhaust the gaseous air from the room for about 15 minutes. Fans should be in place ready for this beforehand. Fans should be large volume, and placed to blow directly out of windows.
So, the idea is, the heating greatly accelerates the volatile gases emitting from the cabinets, filling the airspace. Then with rapid exhausting of this air to atmosphere, the gases are removed. Another cycle can then begin.
After several days and many cycles this way, a lot of the volatile gases will have gassed off to a point where residual chemicals are very much reduced. Not great for your power bills, but it does help.
Here's a similar example...
About a month ago, I bought a pair of cheap shoes, like Crocs, made from soft spongy pvc type material. Soon after buying them I found that they are really high from gases emitting from the compounds. After wearing them a short while, I could actually feel a tingly sensation and tell, that the VOC's were entering my feet.
I put them outside in the direct sunlight and didn't wear them for about 10 days. After that they were pretty much OK, and I could bring them into the house without the overwealmimg smell filling the room.
If weather is favourable, you could actually do this with the kitchen cabinets, but assuming that it will need to be indoors, the bake-out method is effective.
Re: imported flatpacks-proceed with caution, some are toxic7
Apr 22, 2007 8:36 am
Excellent advice Royalblue - I had not heard of this process before,
but it makes a lot of sense - one way to really tell a "cancer kitchen" has been installed is when the door to the room/house is first opened a few days after the kitchen has been fitted - the smell can be extreme.
There is a story about a development up the Sunshine Coast where exactly this happened. Something like fifty kitchens fitted, the building locked up then a few days later a final inspection and the person in control ordered that every kitchen be ripped out and replaced as the smell was overpowering.
Cobylee, Renomart is right, the cabinetry will continue to outgas for the greater part of the kitcehns life, but as Royalblue has suggested, you may find it possible to eliminate a significant amount of the gas very quickly.
We shouldn't forget that all High Moisture Resistant composite Boards are fabricated using Urea Formaldehyde.
It is just that a lot of the imported kitchens don't comply to the maximum allowable content set as an Australian Standard.
As for being able to tell if the cabinets are really made in Australia the short answer is probably no.
But didn't you say they arrived in Chinese packageing or with Chinese manufaturing marks?
Maybe the fabricator gets the cabinets or boards from China and assembles them locally, which would allow that statement.
Of course, this could still mean that the boards are dangerously sub standard.
However, Royalblue has proposed a very good way of not only eliminating the Formaldehyde but also of identifying whether the board is sub standard - heat it up and sniff.
This is still going to expose you to some of the toxin, but you don't have to take a long breath...
Sorry not to be of more use, but the identification of this product is not something that really falls under my skill set.
If you are really worrried then maybe you could try contacting the AELA who wrote that article I originally referred to; they are the ones who organised the testing and should be able to tell you how it was done - although my bet is that it was in a laboratory.
I echo the others best wishes.
Re: imported flatpacks-proceed with caution, some are toxic8
Apr 22, 2007 11:30 am
Strumer, can you say what Australian Standard relates to the maximum allowable VOC level coming from these products?
I'm thinking that irrespective of where the products were from, it could well be argued in a court of law that it is illegal. If Coby does some homework, he/she may hit the supplier, demanding that they take back the stuff and repay in full. Some weight behind him/her will be required (such as suggesting that scientific evidence has been collected proving that the products are not fit for the purpose) and that this will be made public. Legal advice may well be required here. Where's Erin Brokovich when you need her?
Another thought is to go public. If this is a widespread problem, people should be alerted. Getting wind of this may make the suppliers come to the party quick-smart!
An environmental lab would need to be consulted to do air sampling for VOC's. If so, ideally before it has gassed off too much.
Let us know how you get on.
Re: imported flatpacks-proceed with caution, some are toxic9
Apr 22, 2007 1:39 pm
Given the amount of evidence available regarding the non compliance to Australian Standards of these boards I can't believe that it is still going on either.
The cynical part of me says that it is because W**tfarmers own *unnings...that and the fact that our current primary resources boom has a lot to do with our exports to China.
On a global scale, Australia is a tiny part of the Chinese export market and if we blackbanned their product tomorrow it would hardly cause a ripple in their export figures.
But back to the topic - the initial report regarding the domestic supply of non compliant boards can be found here:
http://www.aela.org.au/aela/Publication ... 0issue.pdf
The testing standard referred to is this one:
AS/NZS 4266.16:2004 :
Reconstituted wood-based panels - Methods of test - Formaldehyde emission - Desiccator method
And I believe the general standard for boards is this one:
AS/NZS 1859.1:2004 :
Reconstituted wood-based panels - Specifications - Particleboard
The AELA article is pretty clear about what is going on, and they have not been afraid to name names.
This issue has been doing the rounds amongst outraged cabinetmakers and designer/suppliers such as myself for about a year or so now...but no one has done anything about it; possibly because we are all just flat out trying to keep our businesses going in the face of the drastic impact of the wholescale import of low priced sub standard cabinetry and boards.
It seems everyone knows about it but no one wants to do anything about it; either out of fear of the "Big Boys" or because there are a ship load of Australians profiteering from the import, supply and on selling of these products.
It is worth considering that a significant number of property developers are religiously using these cheap fit outs to maximise their profits.
I too am waiting to see if anything at all can come of this.
As I posted at Woodworkers, at the moment I don't have the resources to pursue this issue beyond what I am doing on these public forums - but I am always ready to provide whatever assistance I can to assist any large scale information distribution to whoever needs to hear it.
Re: imported flatpacks-proceed with caution, some are toxic10
Apr 22, 2007 2:14 pm
OK, I have no direct involvement or knowkedge about these issues, other than to have a general understanding of indoor air quality principles and concern about VOC's.
Here's my suggestion to Cobylee.....
Contact Dr Peter Dingle, a prominent environmental toxicologist from WA. Peter is a passionate scientist that lectures at Murdoch University and has his own environmental consultancy business. If he isn't able to help himself, he may be able to direct you to a local expert. Peter is regularly on TV highlighting various environmental topics, and has some clout and contacts in the multimedia. With a bit of luck, Peter could pull a few strings to have your cabinets tested and highlight the issue on national TV.
If Strumer could help with facts & figures and your overview of how widespread the issue is, you may be able to collectively get some real action happening here.
You could contact media yourself directly too, (Current Affair etc)
I'll see if I have Peter Dingles contact details and email him a link to this thread, so if he is willing he can contact you or leave contact details here.
Re: imported flatpacks-proceed with caution, some are toxic11
Apr 22, 2007 10:27 pm
thanks for all the advice. i have sent an email already to today tonight with a link to this thread. i will also do current affair now.
most of my cabinets were assembled, besides the corner pantry which is in boxes but doesnt have any chinese labels on it, but the fact that all the screws, hinges, handles etc do and also the granite have chinese labels, makes you wonder why they'd stop there.
(he qaulity of the granite is a whole other thread.)
there were at least 3 other couples ordering kitchens when we did. and at least 2other people picking up kitchens the same day i did.
we were told our kitchen was a 'small kitchen' ($4750 for a U shape totalling 11 floor cabinets, a cnr pantry and tall pantry probably totalling around 7-8metres. so its just the tip of the iceberg if all those other people have 'large kitchens'
unfortunately im not in a position to hire a solicitor. nor do i have the gift of the gab when it comes to taking on the fast talking, aggressive owner of this company. but if i have helped to highlight the issue, or even brought it to the attention of people like myself, who had no idea this was happening, then thats all good. thats what i wanted to do
Re: imported flatpacks-proceed with caution, some are toxic14
Apr 25, 2007 7:30 pm
Last time I looked, Flatpax.com.au were the system being supplied by Bunnings - who have been distributing this product since at least 2005.
http://www.aela.org.au/aela/Publication ... 0issue.pdf
has something to say about the flat packed system being sold by the above mentioned.
It is up to you to draw your own conclusions, but there are also several avenues open to you if you want to find out more.
1) Contact Flatpax.com.au and ask for a product disclosure statement that qualifies their position in regards to the information in the AELA report.
2) Contact (or go into) Bunnings and ask the the same question.
Take a copy of the report with you.
Whatever anyone "tells" you, ask for documentation to prove it.
If they are unwilling to provide this proof then it is again up to you to draw your own conclusions.
I hope this is of some help to you.
Re: imported flatpacks-proceed with caution, some are toxic15
Apr 28, 2007 2:10 pm
As promised, I have informed the office of Dr Peter Dingle (environmental toxicologist) of the issue.
I have received a response, indicating an interest in helping bring this issue to the media, and have provided further info in return.
Hopefully, I can get the parties concerned in touch with each other to REALLY get this matter dealt with.
Re: imported flatpacks-proceed with caution, some are toxic16
Apr 30, 2007 12:45 pm
UPDATE: I have received an email from Peter Dingle http://www.drdingle.com/ and he said he has forwarded the info I provided him about this issue to his media contacts. (Peter is quite well connected). So it is on their table.
If it is taken up as a media presentation, would any parties here be prepared to contribute or be interviewed about your experiences or concerns?
Re: imported flatpacks-proceed with caution, some are toxic17
Apr 30, 2007 1:22 pm
id be happy to share my experiences with the particular business i have been dealing with.( and ill be telling them that once i pick up the last of my order.)
but in saying that, i am a hopeless public speaker and get all nervous just thinking about being on tv, so i wouldnt be able appear on an actual show
Re: imported flatpacks-proceed with caution, some are toxic18
Apr 30, 2007 1:23 pm
Good work Ash - it is an impressive effort you have made to get this issue made more noticable.
I am prepared to discuss anything regarding the position I have taken here to the limits of my personal ability/skill set and experience within the industry as a designer and supplier.
I can be contacted via this board or privately as per the details on our website.
Thanks for taking this where you have.
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