Flexner lists them as 'probably' safe. Naturally, he doesn't want to be
sued if somebody decides they got sick off some or other finish. But I
think there is way too much worry about this. All the major wood
finishes have been around for a long time and I've never heard of anyone
getting sick from a cured finish, nor even a frivolous lawsuit claiming
somebody did. If any of them were the least bit dangerous, we would
know all about it by now. Anyone ever heard of lead or asbestos? The
polymerizing finishes would be impossible to get into the bloodstream,
because they are nearly impervious to anything but the strongest
chemical finish strippers. At the top of that heap would be
polyurethane--the most chemical and chip resistant of the common
finishes. I don't believe shellac is toxic at all. The only thing
toxic about it is the methanol used to poison the ethanol solvent, which
quickly evaporates. I can only assume our government believes that a
few deaths are preferable to somebody using pure ethanol to get drunk
Well it's obviously incorrect, when framed in such a broad manner.
"All finishes are safe for contact with food or children's mouths
once the finish has fully cured (after about a month)."
The obvious counter examples are lead paint, marine anti-fouling paint,
and lead-dried oil finishes. If we rephrase it as "All current finishes
permitted for general use in Ruritania, according to the current rules
of the RDA" then we might be better off - for your own local values of
And that's a month in a reasonably warm time of year.
Choose whichever one you like. If any of them were toxic after curing,
they would be banned. Polyurethane is very water resistant and
chemically resistant, meaning that it can't be digested, even if large
chips of it were eaten. Actually, the same is true for all of the film
finishes, but polyurethane is the most inert of them all. Polyurethane
isn't a good outdoor finish because it is broken down by UV light.
Most finishes are safe after they have fully cured. Some animals
(birds, fish) are much more sensitive than others and in that case I
would not use a finish. Select the finish you may want to use and
contact the manufacturer and state the specific animal in question.
On Fri, 22 Apr 2005 14:39:18 -0400, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
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