Odie’s Oil claims other manufacturers’ "safe" finishing products can poison users, and those companies don’t want you to know it.
TALLAHASSEE, Fla., July 19, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — The finishing products on your hardwood and tile floors, cutting boards, and countertops could be poisoning you, according to Odie’s Oil, a company that makes natural oil and wax finishing products. In a series of three blog posts published earlier this month, the company claimed that many products advertised as hardwax oil finishes contain harmful chemicals and byproducts, such as benzene and other solvents, that can cause cancer and other health issues.
Odie’s Oil, created by woodworker James Tinghitella, launched a series of blog posts on its website titled "Exposing the Lies of Big Chemical." The third post claims that many top finishing companies use polyurethane in their wood oil and wax finishes — a chemical made from isocyanates, which can cause skin and respiratory irritation and long-term effects like asthma. According to the Occupational Health and Safety Administration, isocyanates include potential human carcinogens that cause cancer in animals.
Some top finishing companies market their products as solvent-free or free of volatile organic compounds, meaning they are safe, according to Odie’s Oil. However, Odie’s Oil claims this is often a "form of deception." Products that contain both a finishing material and catalyst must be combined to properly activate and use the product. While the initial finishing material may be rightfully solvent-free, the catalyst might contain toxic and cancer-causing isocyanates or solvents.
Odie’s Oil sourced an example of this from European finishing brands and recommends using pre-blended, American-made, heirloom-brand products if you must use a polyurethane that contains solvents.
"At least (the American companies) are honest and straightforward on their labels about the toxicity and hazards inherent to their products," Odie’s Oil wrote in the third blog post.
Polyurethane alone can degrade over time when exposed to natural elements like rain, mold, abrasion, and sunlight. According to Odie’s Oil, some oil and wax companies add chemicals to their polyurethane finishes to strengthen their resistance to environmental exposure. These chemicals include toxic benzene solvents and hardeners containing heavy metals.
"This is, in itself, a form of deception because there are far better options out there; they just cost more to make and are not as profitable to sell," Odie’s Oil wrote in the third blog post.
The company claims other pseudo-hard-wax oil finish brands state their products produce a molecular bond, which may lead consumers to believe the product will adhere to the surface they use it on. However, Odie’s Oil states the molecular bond advertised is often within the molecules of the finish ingredients, not a bond between the finish and the surface.
In the second blog post in the series, Odie’s Oil compares marketing in the chemical industry to marketing in the tobacco industry, implying that chemical companies know their products are dangerous but market them as safe.
"Stop for a moment and think about all of the products and industries held up on a pedestal only to crash to the ground when the true cost of their products came to light," Odie’s Oil wrote.
Odie’s Oil sells finishing products and oils that use proprietary enhanced tung oil, which is a natural drying oil, rather than polyurethane or other chemicals. Tung oil is more expensive to use than polyurethane, and it is environmentally friendly, can build a water-resistant and durable finish, and is non-toxic and solvent-free.
"It’s sickening to watch people get poisoned," Tinghitella said on an Odie’s Oil Instagram live stream. "It’s sickening for me to see people get deceived. It’s sickening to hear the lies of these big chemical companies."
Tinghitella created Odie’s Oil after his father died from acute myeloid leukemia, which could have resulted from exposure to benzene and isocyanates. Tinghitella said he started crafting his company’s solvent-free finish at 12 years old after learning about the effects of exposure to carcinogens like benzene.
On the live stream, Tinghitella explained his company’s goal: "We make a great product, and we’re just trying to save some lives."
Odie’s Oil said it plans to examine the marketing strategies of water-based finish, varnish, lacquer, ceramic coating, lithium-based coating, and ultraviolet-activated finish products in future blog posts.
SOURCE Odie’s Oil