Non-Toxic RVs – Is There Really Such a Thing?

General Article

More and more people are interested in finding nontoxic RVs simply because of the obvious irritating smell, surprising symptoms experienced after residing in an RV and the question of long term health damage for some people who camp or live in RVs. While this may seem to be a nonsensical topic to some people, it is a viable concern for many who have experience first hand the noxious fumes of new campers when the door is first opened after being shut up for a period of time.

There are even health concerns that have been addressed by state and federal agencies regarding the dangers of pre-fabricated trailers that further pin point this problem. One in particular points to the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina of Louisiana when many people had to be housed in trailers brought in by the government for the homeless. Many people began to report various physical symptoms as a result of living in these chemical laden trailers.

Even though this example is from pre-fab house trailers, the same materials in house trailers are often used by manufacturers to build RV, campers, travel trailers and pop-ups. The problem with many of the typical materials used to build RVs is that the materials are often laced with various chemicals and toxins that degas over time. Some of the reasons for this of course is the fact that compounded materials are much cheaper than materials such as solid wood. Also, much of the compounded materials are lighter than their counterparts which is much more conducive for use in recreational vehicles. However, more and more consumers are becoming aware of the dangers associated to long-term exposures to many of these compounded building materials and wish to use alternatives if possible.

The problem with this is that most manufacturers are driven by the bottom line and cannot afford to replace much of the compounded, cheaper materials with more expensive, more natural building supplies. Unfortunately, a lot of the safer, more natural or less toxic materials tend to be more expensive and manufacturers would have to pass the cost on to consumers which would cut into the profit margin.

For consumers who want to find RVs that are less toxic, it is important to find one or two brands that tend to use more expensive materials that tend to be less dangerous in toxicity. For example, a better choice for chipped board which is commonly used in RVs, is plywood. Plywood has less chemically laced bonding agents in it than does chipped board which is virtually wood chips that are glued together with highly toxic materials. If you wonder about the truth of this, simply stand beside a slab of chipped board and smell the fumes that constantly emit from it. Then stand beside a slab of plywood and notice the lesser pungent odor.

So far, nontoxic RVs are not manufactured by any company that specializes in chemical-free recreational vehicles. However, some manufacturers such as Airstream just happen to produce slightly less toxic models simply because they use higher end materials that have less chemical binders in the building materials. If you’re looking for a nontoxic RV or want to lessen the toxicity of your current camper, there are several online sources that provide more information regarding safe sealants for interiors as well as renovation tips for nontoxic RVs.