Toxic fumes from under-sink cabinet...

lambicMay 20, 2009

Can anyone share any insight into possible sources of fumes from beneath my newly installed sink/cabinets? Our kitchen reno concluded in mid-March, the details are:

quartz counter-top

undermount C-Tech sink, 2 bowls

standard ABS drain pipes

My experience doing ABS plumbing has been that the cement is pretty potent in the can, but it cures rapidly and the smell dissipates within a day or two at most.

Are there any other cements/adhesives in use that would take over 2 months to stop emitting fumes? Is the sink cemented in place? (It doesn't appear to be)

[Note: nothing odorous is stored in the cabinet]

Thanks for any ideas...

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What smell ....

Its like two blind men , describing a zebra .

Most likely a paint or particle board glue off gassing . One person told me they bake their house at 90 degrees plus with the heater ,to get rid of the new carpet / paint smells .Heat speeds the off gassing .

    Bookmark   May 20, 2009 at 7:13PM
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The C-Tech sinks are made in China, even though they emphasize the Italian designs. We have been living over here in Shanghai for 5 years now, (coming back in June--yea!!!)and they loooove to use formaldehyde in everything. Just a guess, but maybe the sound-absorbing backing either has formaldehyde in it, or in the adhesive used to apply it.

If this is what it is, it WILL eventually finish off-gassing. To help it along, keep the cabinet open when you are not at home, and keep the area as well-ventilated as possible. Throw a couple of fabric softener sheets in there, too. I UNFORTUNATELY have had lots of experience with this--it will go away MUCH faster (maybe only a week)if you keep that cab base open. It is terrible stuff-will give you a headache and who knows what else....

Good luck!

    Bookmark   May 20, 2009 at 8:26PM
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"One person told me they bake their house at 90 degrees plus with the heater ,to get rid of the new carpet / paint smells .Heat speeds the off gassing"

an AZ summer would take care of that then!

that stuff just kills me (literally). I have major problems with off gassing of products.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2009 at 4:23AM
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IF the smell is sorta "vinegary" with chemical undertones then it's just the silicone used to caulk your sink and set the countertops. Some silicones take longer to cure than others, especialy if a heavy bead was used.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2009 at 8:23AM
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It could also be that a plumbing waste pipe is not sealed properly or you could have a wet vent that has dried out and you are getting sewer gas.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2009 at 8:05AM
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How long have you had this smell?
Did it just start or have you had this smell since
Mid March after completed renovation?

Is there a gas intake to heat water?
Is there a problem with garbage disposal?
Is the smell plastic, chemical or rotten food like?

Does it smell like rotten eggs?
I ask this odd question because of a program on NPR
about drywall from China having sulfer. Sulfer destroys
copper. It also emits a horrific rotten egg smell.
Some drywall from China has sulfer in it's makeup causing
serious illness in children.

Here are some articles.

By Jason Hanna

(CNN) -- Strontium sulfide, a material that can emit corrosive gases in moist air, was found at trace levels in testing of Chinese-made drywall, the Florida Department of Health said.The drywall samples gave off a sulfurous odor when heated, and in at least one case, sulfide gases corroded copper coils in an air conditioner of a Florida home containing Chinese drywall, said the department, which commissioned the study.

But more testing is needed to determine whether strontium sulfide was causing the odor and contributing to the corrosion, the department said. And more tests are required to determine whether the drywall poses a threat to human health -- a process that probably will take at least several months, state toxicologist Dr. David Krause told reporters Monday.

"It's very hard to predict when we'll have the answers [relating to possible health hazards]. ... We're moving as quickly as possible," Krause said.

Concerns about Chinese-made drywall, which is suspected by some homeowners of ruining appliances and causing health problems, emerged in Florida last year but have transcended state lines, with class-action lawsuits alleging it has caused problems in at least three states: Florida, Louisiana and Alabama. The Florida Department of Health has received about 150 complaints, and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission says it is investigating the Florida allegations.

Homeowners' lawsuits against certain manufacturers and suppliers contend the drywall has caused them to suffer health problems such as headaches and sore throats, and left them facing huge repair expenses. The drywall is alleged to emit sulfur-based gases that smell of rotten eggs and corrode piping and wiring, causing electronics and appliances to fail.

The Florida Department of Health said complaints there generally involve homes built between 2004 and 2007, around the time a building boom and post-hurricane reconstruction caused a U.S. drywall shortage and spurred builders to use imports.

(there is more to this story at the link.)

Here is a link that might be useful: Drywall has material that can emit corrosive gas

    Bookmark   May 26, 2009 at 8:43AM
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The gas company can test with a sniffer for a gas leaks . Depending on the location, consider venting the area outside with a 4" pancake fans , they don't make sparks or heat-up about $20 they run forever. A skilled contractor or handyman could tell you what it is after a whiff .

    Bookmark   May 26, 2009 at 9:06AM
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Thanks for the replies. It's not standard building material off-gassing because it is unique to the under-sink area - none of the other cupboards smell. It's also not gas (NG or sewer) - those are readily identifiable smells. It's not silicone either (I know that one too... I kind of like it ;^)

HK - yeah, it's hard to explain a smell. It smells more like a solvent. In fact it smells so volatile that I'm surprised it's hasn't long evaporated. It's very toxic.

So, Shanghaimom's idea is sounding plausible. I'll see if I can help things along with the cabinet open and the hood fan running.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2009 at 12:26PM
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Just saw your post while looking for a c-tech sink which I was planning to use in a remodel for a bar. It is one of the largest sinks that will fit in my base cabinet so I really wanted to use it. However, now I am concerned, especially if it is made in China. Did you ever find out more information on the source of the fumes? Did they go away?

    Bookmark   August 9, 2009 at 5:27PM
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It is not the spray that you smell but the use of inferior padding on the sink. There is a company that sells the padding to replace this and rid yourself of the smell. check it out this will solve your odor problem. The inferior pads are loaded with petroleum and when you run hot water it willeven get worse, that is the chemical smell you are getting.

Here is a link that might be useful: my sink stinks

    Bookmark   September 21, 2011 at 2:54PM
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