What better than cabinets made in all wood, not particle-board, ready to assemble, at a very low price, delivered to your door in less than a week? We thought there must be some kind of catch… However, at that time we couldn’t find one, so we filled our entire new Showroom with these new cabinets. Also, the companies were so generous, they gave us such low prices and even cabinets at no cost, for us to display in their name! We were so grateful! Had we known with certainty any of us could have cancer as a result, none of this would have happened…
The cabinets are normally assembled with plastic clips, but since my hubby is a proud wood worker and cabinet maker, he cut, glued, screw together and did all that was needed to build sturdy beautiful cabinets. I immediately found the smell was too strong for me. I have Lyme Disease and smells have been a problem so I opened doors and end up kicking my Husband out with his parts to be assembled far from the store and into his shop.
We had serious problems designing our displays because these companies don’t have as many parts and types of cabinets as our regular American cabinet company, as well as the quality control. We had to modify the parts we got to be able to build the columns and all the details which made for more cutting and gluing, and more vapors and gases were dispersed all over.
Yes, we have heard about products from China having “FORMALDEHYDE” but not the cabinets! Moreover, if you research you can find how these companies dismiss all the studies made and state, with all the scientific severity, that their cabinets do not cause a cancer. So you believe them, because they are regulated and controlled in the US.; we assumed that if a product is in the US it has gone through the rigorous checks for health and all, right? So we innocently thought we found a product customers would love and we could serve them better with our outstanding designs and installation, and there was nothing to lose. (Had we known our lives and future was pending on a fine cord we would have never risked our health and life…)
Please check the info about those who say the Chinese cabinets are “not toxic”? This site for example states: “So when it comes down to the safety of the cabinets from an emissions standard or the use of “toxic chemicals” this is more of a myth than fact. If you would like to read the full story about CARB 2 compliance, Columbia Forest Products has a great pdf that explains everything: CARB Compliance FAQ, here
They even make fun of the situation with a title saying: ” Will I Die a Horrible and Painful Death If I Buy RTA Kitchen Cabinets From China?” and the answer is yes if they are not secured to the wall and hit your head? Yet they assure their cabinets are in no way harmful to the human health. This is their “funny” blog, of course it doesn’t make us laugh at all:
So, never imagining we were going to live through the most horrible disease ever, we took a long time fixing the place, making our displays, building and assembling. By the time we were done, we only had the showroom working for about six months before the lease of the first year expired. Thank God we only sold one kitchen from this company and the others were from our old providers. We decided to close the showroom at the end of the lease, thinking we were paying too much for the place that was not bringing any revenue. Six months later after closing the showroom my beloved husband was diagnosed with a GASTRIC LYMPHOMA, GRADE 4, AGGRESSIVE.
I just thought of what a good decision we made closing the Showroom, because I wouldn’t have been able to take care of it and of my dear Husband. What I didn’t realize is that I was also saving my daughter’s and my life; furthermore, we never thought there could be a direct correlation between the cancer and the cabinets until now.
What got me thinking was the type of cancer my Husband had… it was in the stomach and colon but it was not a stomach cancer, it was instead a Lymphoma: a blood type cancer. Then something clicked.. the studies I read a long time ago said something about leukemia in children, which is also a blood cancer… my heart shrunk … I researched again to find the article and it is Titled: “Formaldehyde in China: Are your cabinets giving your kid cancer??” ( “After initial research done by the Shanghai Children’s Hospital and Shanghai Environmental Protection Industry Association in a study last year, the answer is: well, yeah maybe. In a study of 30 children with leukemia, it was discovered that 15 came from homes with furniture or decor with excessive formaldehyde discharge.”… Well, yeah, maybe?… is this cynical? Isn’t this too much?
The article explains that formaldehyde is a chemical used to bind materials, like wood or paper, and says: “The suggested link between formaldehyde and cancer is nothing new. It has been proven to cause certain kinds of nasal cancer and has been found in multiple studies to be linked with leukemia.”
Leukemia or lymphoma… both blood cancers, and in my Husband’s case, the labs were trying to define if it was indeed leukemia, a Burkitt Lymphoma‎ that has to be treated as leukemia, with only a 5% possibility it was a B-cell lymphoma which is what it resulted and, thankfully, it is more favorable to treat, and seems to be curable.
The point is: the Chinese children of families with these cabinets get leukemia, maybe because there are no regulations to stop these types of productions but us, here in the US with so many laws and “protections”? Is this fair to have, and to not know the damage you could have when cutting the wood and installing such cabinets?
My Husband, in the middle of it all, keeps being a fair compassionate man; instead of being angry when he heard I was writing this Blog, he told me to remember that some American companies are now going to China to get their cabinets produced, but “they will have proper regulations and will not permit to add Formaldehyde of other products not suitable for the health of the Americans” he said … yep, my Husband is as good as it gets!
I don’t feel the same… I feel that if we go to manufacture products in China we need to maintain the regulations and we must not bring back products that DO KILL and SICKEN the population beginning by the children. Furthermore, it is not good for any economy to have sick people unable to work, like us disabled and unable to do as good as we could; or to have American children with Leukemia because their parents decided to save some money in their cabinets? NOT WORTH IT !
And what’s even more painful, the cabinets that come in flat boxes are not the only ones containing Formaldehyde, but tons of wood that American companies use to manufacture their cabinets with also contain it: “Last year, China exported to the United States more than half a billion dollars’ worth of hardwood plywood — enough to build cabinets for 2 million kitchens, a six fold increase since 2002. While China sends low-formaldehyde timber to Japan and Europe, Americans are receiving wood that emits substantially higher levels of the chemical”.
Even worse, there are not even savings in the amount of money people are paying for their kitchens, plus they don’t even know what they are buying: “I’ll guarantee you that no one tells a customer building a $75,000 kitchen that their cabinets contain plywood from China that will off-gas formaldehyde,” said Larry Percivalle of Oakland-based EarthSource Forest Products, a distributor that sells low-formaldehyde and sustainable grown wood.”
The American companies know what they are buying from China and are denying that these products could cause cancer.
“One birch plank from China, bought at a Home Depot store in Portland, gave off 100 times more formaldehyde than legal in Japan and 30 times more than allowed in Europe and China, according to July tests conducted by a lab hired by an Oregon-based wood products manufacturer”.
These quotes are from this outstanding article called “Companies Dump Toxic Goods on U.S. Consumers”. Less stringent environmental regulations allow products barred by Japan, EU. Author©2006 Marla Cone, Los Angeles Times, 10/16/2006 Here is the link, worth the time reading it and learning about it
May you all take care and enjoy your good health!


Maria and Orlando Rodriguez.

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