Problem with furniture smell (formaldehyde), what to do?

I have a bedroom furniture set which I purchased 8 month ago from a large retailer. It is solid wood with wood veneers, and drawers are made of plywoods (uncoated).
I have a big problem with its smell and I believe it is due to the formaldehyde in the plywood and glue. I've been trying to air it out by opening all the drawers and windows, but it's been 8 month, and although it probably is a little better, it still smells strongly if windows are closed overnight. The worst part is, I get a bad sour throat if I sleep in the room. My wife is pregnant so I am being very cautious, we've been sleeping in a different room since we purchased the furniture.
The smell is mostly coming from the drawers, which have uncoated plywood boards, and a little bit from the veneers, probably from the glue. This is consistent with the information I can find on formaldehyde. It's kind of a warm paint like smell.
I called the company and explained the problem, but it doesn't look like they are willing to take it back. I want to know if someone can suggest a better way for me to handle this. I can:
1) Take my loss and throw out the furniture. It's $3k, but I don't want to risk my life or my unborn child's health with it. (We gonna need that master bedroom when the kid is born). But 3K is a lot of money. I'd rather not go this route if other options are better.
2) Take a less loss and sell it on craigslist. Used furniture unfortunately does not sell much, and I don't know if I'll be able to sell it if at all.
3) Find some companies to come out and test the level of formaldehyde in the air or in the product. If I leave the windows and door closed overnight, the room definitely smells. If I have some kind of proof that the product is a health hazard, then the company may take it back. If the product is indeed not safe, I don't want others to be buy it either.
What company does these type of testing? I called the manufacturer of the furniture, but they claim they follow all standards and smell should go away after 2 to 3 days, yeah right! I recall a while ago a lady called some company to test the mercury level in the room after she broke a florescent light... Is this the same type of company? Who did the testing in the lead level in toys? The manufacturers right?
4) Does the government offer any help in dealing with these type of product safety issues? Who should I contact?
The product is made in China. We all heard about the lead paint on toys. My gut feeling is the factories that made these plywoods in China does not follow the US standards on how much off gasing the plywoods can have (for indoor use). What's the best way to get this tested one way or the other? If I have to spend some money to test this (say $100 or $200, I have no idea how much these things cost) I don't mind, but if it cost $1000, then probably not.
Thanks in advance.
Ray
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On Jun 16, 8:18 pm, snipped-for-privacy@none.com wrote:

I would buy a few cans of spray varnish at a big box hardware store and spray everything in sight on the drawers except the fronts which should already be finished. Then as soon as the spray varnish has driec to handle, put the drawers outside in the sun to air and dry. 3 or 4 cans shouldd be plenty for one or two dressers. Total cost under $25 so worth the effort.
Also spray the inside of the main dresser(s) with the varnish and also put out in the sun to air out. Have you had someone else, a neighbor or friend, see if they can smell the problem. IF it is as bad as you say, take a piece (drawer) back to the store where you ordered the furniture. You do sound a little bit like you are over sensitive to this.
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While an excellent idea that will probably work, I wouldn't do this until all other remedies have been exhausted. I would get the stuff tested, then insist that the company take it back. Also, immediately contact your state's Attorney General. Any valid complaint from a consumer with the words "cc: Attorney General, State of XX" will strike fear into the heart of any reputable business owner.
If you have no luck with the Consumer Protection Agency or the AG's office or the company itself, then try the local news stations. Usually they have a reporter who does consumer issue pieces, and if you play the pregnant wife/dangerous fumes card, you could get a nice segment aired at 6 and 11. Even just threatening the store with bad local press ("the segment is airing next week") could get them to take it back.
The big problem is that it's been 8 months. I would have returned it after 2 days and voided the credit card sale. You DID use a credit card, right? If so, contact your issuer and see if they can help. You're always ok within 6 months, but since you've been in contact with the store all along you might be ok. Explain that they've been telling you the same BS for 8 months, pregnant wife, yadda yadda, and maybe you'll get some play.
If all else fails, try the varnish route. Polyurethane works too.
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On Tue, 17 Jun 2008 10:47:33 -0400, <h> wrote:

We moved into a newly constructed office with sealed windows. I was getting a headache everyday for 2-4 months and found out it was due to the out gassing of formaldehyde. After 6 months, the out gassing slowed down and it wasn't until then I stopped taking a daily aspirin. If you can bring fresh air into the area for a few months, all the better. New carpeting can be bad too.
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On Jun 16, 6:18 pm, snipped-for-privacy@none.com wrote:

Formaldehyde is very serious. Go ahead and contact the company that did your mercury testing, chances are they test for formaldehyde as well. The typical method is to sample the air thru a glass ampule for a ppm (parts per million) exposure over a given period. If it were a workplace, OSHA would have jurisdiction. I suppose that the Consumer Products Safety Commission has jurisdiction, but Bush has gutted their funding and has appointed his Texas cronies over Federal agencies, that have neither the knowledge or the desire to enforce the law, quite like the response to Katrina and border enforcement. If you live in a state that takes these things seriously, such as California, you will get some help from them. With your test results, you could match the permissible exposure limits (check the code of federal regulations, EPA on the internet), and you could sue the store to take it back and refund your money, a laborious process. Another route would be to contact the media, a local TV station or newspaper, stores hate bad publicity, but if the store has a large advertising contract with the station or newspaper, they may spike it. You are right about goods from China. They have no health, environmental, safety or industrial standards, and even if they did, their gov't is so rife with corruption, patronage and bribery that it would not matter if they did. We have no way of inspecting goods from China, and politicians here are so dependent on Chinese money that they have no desire to change the present system. I avoid Chinese products whenever possible. If you don't know where to start, just Google "formaldehyde exposure" and follow the links. Best wishes.-Jitney
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I agree. We checked out some Chinese furniture and found that the condition of the wood, species of wood (unknown), the construction techniques, and the finish were all substandard, while the retailer charged as much for it as many North American made pieces. I avoid Chinese furniture like the plague, and buy local products.
wrote:

Formaldehyde is very serious. Go ahead and contact the company that did your mercury testing, chances are they test for formaldehyde as well. The typical method is to sample the air thru a glass ampule for a ppm (parts per million) exposure over a given period. If it were a workplace, OSHA would have jurisdiction. I suppose that the Consumer Products Safety Commission has jurisdiction, but Bush has gutted their funding and has appointed his Texas cronies over Federal agencies, that have neither the knowledge or the desire to enforce the law, quite like the response to Katrina and border enforcement. If you live in a state that takes these things seriously, such as California, you will get some help from them. With your test results, you could match the permissible exposure limits (check the code of federal regulations, EPA on the internet), and you could sue the store to take it back and refund your money, a laborious process. Another route would be to contact the media, a local TV station or newspaper, stores hate bad publicity, but if the store has a large advertising contract with the station or newspaper, they may spike it. You are right about goods from China. They have no health, environmental, safety or industrial standards, and even if they did, their gov't is so rife with corruption, patronage and bribery that it would not matter if they did. We have no way of inspecting goods from China, and politicians here are so dependent on Chinese money that they have no desire to change the present system. I avoid Chinese products whenever possible. If you don't know where to start, just Google "formaldehyde exposure" and follow the links. Best wishes.-Jitney
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My skin starts turning pink if I so much walk into a cheap leather goods store form all the formaldahyde lurking there.
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