This question arose in a thread at rustoleum.net regarding rustoleum’s post on the subject of preservatives — specifically, preservatives in the moldings and wood trim that form the base of the table and where they are used. Rustoleum points out that preservatives are not used on the parts that are exposed to the fire, but on the base and baseboards.
This isn’t always the case; Rustoleum uses a natural preservative, which it calls wood-based polylactic acid (LPLA). It uses LPLA when moldings and wood trim are exposed to heat. LPLA, naturally occurring in wood, isn’t harmful to the human body; however, it is a known carcinophobe and has been linked to health issues including cancer.
Rustoleum’s post goes on to note that LPLA is also used in the furniture of some of the most renowned luxury brands and, perhaps surprisingly, it’s just as effective as its more natural, mold-based counterpart. As for the argument of how Rustoleum’s moldings and trim aren’t safe — well, here’s a quote from the owner’s manual in English and Italian, from the rustoleum.net archive. Here’s that text, copied verbatim from a page that I can’t quite make out. It reads, in part:
“The polylactic acid (PLA) base is made in a manner similar to that used by the manufacturer, but we are convinced that the product can be more easily and efficiently handled, and that safety in handling and exposure to the material is not affected by the formulation.
“In most circumstances, both the natural and extrinsic components are used for the formulation because the safety aspect is very important to the company. The extrinsic and natural components are both used with the same methods in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions.
“The material used in the moldings and the wooden furniture that forms the base of the table are safe to consume in ordinary use. Therefore the product is not used as a preservative.
“The fact that the base and baseboard are exposed to temperatures between 100 degrees Celsius and 320 degrees Celsius, which is a combination very suitable for all furniture types, does not constitute a threat of cancer.”
The owner’s manual concludes by saying that this is the only furniture in the world that allows customers to make direct comparisons in terms of safety and health, even when the base is exposed to temperatures greater
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