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Old 03-14-2010, 03:51 PM   #1
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Purging new Airstream toxins

Hello everyone, bear with me, this is my first thread.

I have read all the posts I could find on formaldehyde/VOCs and Airstreams. It's has been a while since there were any posts and I thought I would canvas those of you who have bought recent Airstreams and get your experience with reducing and eliminating toxic new trailer smells.

Background: My wife and I are very sensitive to formaldehyde and VOC's. We have been looking at AS for years but every time we have gone into a new one on the dealer's lot, we have to leave within minutes with irritated eyes and sometimes light headedness.

Now we're considering a slightly older AS International CCD (more aluminum surface area 2006-2008) in hopes that it is substantially outgassed and would be tolerable for us.

It would be helpful to know what technology those of you who are also sensitive are using to deal with or eliminate the chemicals leeching out your newer AS from the woods, vinyl flooring, fiberglass insulation, laminates, etc.

Also, if you have had problems from toxins when you got your AS, has your trailer substantially improved and how long did it take?

Many thanks for your thoughts.
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Old 03-14-2010, 03:59 PM   #2
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WRAJR,
My husband also has severe allergies to these products and that is why we bought an AS. 2 months ago we bought a new 09 from a RV show and have had no problems at all. Maybe try the dealers that have left over stock from previous year or two, this way you will get the warranty. My hubby is a heart patient and the reaction to other travel trailers/ motorhomes was significant. Good luck in your search....we're having a great time!!
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Old 03-14-2010, 04:19 PM   #3
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Hi wrajr -- welcome to the forums! Know what 'they' say?
Quote:
Originally Posted by they
Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana.
Time is the only possible aid in this matter. We've pretty well worked through when some have seen a decline in VOCs & formaldehyde. My latest sum-up on that topic is here. You may have read some of these anyway.

It would be most useful to add to the body of knowledge and post back to your thread to report your experiences!
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Old 03-14-2010, 05:56 PM   #4
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Buy vintage...but then again you might have to deal with m-o-l-d and other interesting things that gather over the ages.

I have only seen one brand of RV in recent memory where it didn't reek of chemicals brand new. That was a Big Horn from Heartland RV. Personally I think most of the RV manufacturers could do a better job using low VOC stuff, but they don't want to due to potential costs.

Aaron
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Old 03-14-2010, 08:18 PM   #5
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Hi Wrajr,

My wife has the same VOC issues. We went vintage (65), stripped the trailer to the chassis. Then put it all back together as vintage as possible but without formaldehyde as best we could. The main problem was finding an exterior grade plywood for the new subfloor. (Plywood can take 7 years to outgas the formaldehyde in the glue). So we cut replacement panels out of new, regular plywood but sealed it on all sides with 3 coats of safe primer / paint. That'llalso fight future floor rot. Then we used Marmoleum sheet as a floor covering because its vintage looking and formaldehyde free. All the insulation was replaced while the walls were out using JM formaldehyde free fiberglass. We used a safe brand of polyurathane varnish on the table tops. The rest of the mahogany gets Jojoba bean oil rubs instead of petroleum. The fabrics are all organic cotton and we managed to sew and upholster ourselves. The mattresses are built from wood frames using zigzag springs and stuffed with Kapok in Burlap pillow segments then covered with organic cotton batting and finally organic cotton covers. Any the interior woodworking that couldn't be repaired was duplicated in in solid wood or using formaldehyde free hardwood plywood from Columbia Forest products. We avoided new plastic everywhere. The end result was a very comfortable coach for my wife that looks very vintage but it took a couple of years to complete.

There is formaldehyde free if you search for it. It aint easy or cheap but its possible.

Good luck with your search and try to spend the night in it before you buy.

Cosmos
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Old 03-14-2010, 10:17 PM   #6
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VOC's are the worst part of almost anything that is mass produced! They have without our doing lead to the things that tear our very make up down! The fact is, it is imposable to own a new Airstream with out VOC's due to the fact that most people will not pay for the product if it was totally free of all VOC's. So your question is much larger than just for you! We all should be demanding this from the companies we buy from Airstream included... Most of the VOC's found in a new Airstream are the things that can be easily removed! These items then can be replaced with none VOC's alternatives, most will cost more, but some can cost less. The area's of VOC's that are part of the trailer that can not be easily removed can be sealed in with other methods.

Sustainability, should be the driving force of Airstream of today and into the future! Most all sustainable products today are rid of VOC's and in the end produce a healthy environment to R&R in!
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Old 03-14-2010, 10:33 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vinstream View Post
...Most of the VOC's found in a new Airstream are the things that can be easily removed! These items then can be replaced with none VOC's alternatives, most will cost more, but some can cost less. The area's of VOC's that are part of the trailer that can not be easily removed can be sealed in with other methods...
Many thanks for everyones reply!

Which items can be easily removed (other than soft furnishings)? Can you successfully use a block type sealer on the woods, laminates and flooring?
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Old 03-14-2010, 10:43 PM   #8
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follow the links bob inserted, it's all been covered already.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wrajr View Post
...every time we have gone into a new one on the dealer's lot, we have to leave within minutes with irritated eyes and sometimes light headedness...
i get this a lot too...

but it is caused by the high prices, poor fit/finish and undesirable floor plans...

and occasionally by an annoying sales person off gassing...
__________

sensitivity to odors or chemicals or STUFF in the air doesn't EQUAL toxins...

toxic compounds are universally toxic or have a body of evidence supporting the risks/issues,

and are not toxic for just a small subset of people (ignoring the embryo/fetus/child issues for this discussion)

in the same way that the allergic response is PERSON specific, multiple chemical sensitivity syndrome is too.

dander and pollen, for exampel are NOT toxins but for some people are huge allergens and "toxic" to them...
__________

a/s has SIGNIFICANTLY reduced the KNOWN voc in the materials they use.

but they don't make the fridges or stoves or upholstery or foam or electronics or floorings.

they've been incrementally REDUCING noxious compounds for the WORKERS HEALTH in the factory and on the assembly line;

for many years and continue to make changes where PROVEN to be useful...
__________

so to make a blanket statement about vocs or formalyn in 'steams is misleading.

it would be more useful to list (AFTER verification) the KNOWN/SPECIFIC problematic materials a/s still uses...

i don't see anyone doing that who makes the claims or offers cures, related 2 the toxic stuff.

while voc can be an issue and ARE with many products and perhaps including ohio trailers ...

folks who think/believe they have multiple chemical sensitivity syndrome...

have issues with MANY everyday odors that are NOT vocs or toxins for the masses.

they have a unique/troubling condition and the solutions are NOT obvious or universal.

i tried to pay cash for my unit but the sales guy said FRESH NEW money made him cry...

he cried with joy, but cried none the less.

cheers
2air'
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Old 03-15-2010, 10:02 AM   #9
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We bought our '08 in Sept. '07. About as fresh as you can get. My wife is very sensitive to VOC's so when we brought it home we removed all the upholstery and set it outside under the porch to let it air out for a week. Then we opened all the windows in the coach and turned the exhaust fan on low. You also need to turn on the furnace to burn off the manufacturing residue. Set on low for an hour or two. Our Doctor recommended we rent a medical Oxygen bottle and let it seep into the tightly closed coach to oxidize any remaining VOC's but we found it unnecessary.
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Old 03-15-2010, 01:05 PM   #10
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The most straightforward means of getting the Manufacturing Stink out of an Airstream (or anything else) is to apply heat and ventilation of a period of days or weeks, as necessary. The heat will accelerate the outgassing, whether it occurs as the result of polymerization reactions that have not yet completed entirely or the vaporization of volatile carrier materials. Ventilation will ensure that such materials are not merely reabsorbed into upholstery, carpet, etc.

So turn up the furnace to 90 degrees and crack open the vents, and leave it like that until it gets better.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ahab View Post
Our Doctor recommended we rent a medical Oxygen bottle and let it seep into the tightly closed coach to oxidize any remaining VOC's but we found it unnecessary.
I guess they must not require an organic chemistry class to get an M.D. any more.
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