Built-in and freestanding furnishings such as cabinets and carts,
especially those in the infant care areas, shall be easily cleanable
with the fewest possible seams in the integral construction. Exposed
surface seams shall be sealed. Furnishings shall be of durable
construction to withstand impact by movable equipment without
Furnishings and materials shall be free of substances known to be
teratogenic, mutagenic, carcinogenic, or otherwise harmful to human
Interpretation: Countertops should have the
fewest possible seams. Edges exposed to impact should be "soft"
(i.e., bull-nosed). Corners created at wall or backsplash
intersections should be coved. Intersections with sinks or other
devices should be sealed or made integral with the top. Casework
construction should not chip or flake when struck by objects in the
normal routine of infant care, and should be of sufficient moisture
resistance to prevent deterioration.
Furnishings in the NICU are often composite pieces made of
various parts and layers of materials that are assembled with glue
or adhesives. Materials and substances typically used in these
furnishings often contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs) such as
formaldehyde, which is frequently found in pressed wood products
including plywood and particle board. Vinyl-based laminates, which
often are applied to the surface of pressed wood products, also
contain VOCs such as polyvinyl chloride (PVC). Specify low- or
no-VOC materials, including urea-formaldehyde-free adhesives, for
all furnishings in the NICU.
Specifying furnishings and materials from regional sources
(within a 300 - 500 mile radius) not only provides support for the
local community, but also reduces the amounts of fossil fuels
necessary for transport.