healthy house institute

4 Free HHI Books:

Creating a Healthy Household, The Healthy House Answer Book, Healthy Home Building, The Healthy House 4th Edition
Your email will only be used as described in our Privacy Policy

Follow us on Twitter

 

Search

Proud Supporter of:

OnlineCourses.com

 

OpenCourseWare

Article

Man-Made Wood Products

By HHI Staff

In an ideal healthy home interior, there would likely be no man-made wood products. This means no plywood, no particleboard and no sheets of wall paneling. Admittedly, these materials have real advantages associated with them — they’re relatively cheap, often made of wood that would otherwise be wasted (inferior logs, mill scraps, sawdust etc.), they resist warping, and in some cases they are stronger than solid wood.

The Trouble With Man-Made Wood Products

Typical man-made wood products have health-related drawbacks, especially for sensitive people. For example, they’re nearly always made of softwoods (primarily pine or fir) that can release strong-smelling natural terpenes when they’re freshly cut or sanded. These compounds can be irritating and bothersome to breathe for some people. More importantly, man-made wood products are generally held together with formaldehyde-based glues.

 

article continues below ↓


We do not strictly control Google ad content. If you believe any Google ad is inappropriate, please email us directly here.

 

Unfortunately, formaldehyde can cause a wide variety of health problems, from nasal irritation and respiratory problems to menstrual irregularities and cancer. Sadly, formaldehyde will likely be emitted from man-made wood products for many years. Therefore, many items made with man-made wood products can be ongoing, long-term problems.

 

Although typical plywood (of any type) is definitely a source of formaldehyde, typical particleboard is a far worse emitter. That’s because much more glue is required to make particleboard than to make other man-made wood products. Unfortunately, the glue that’s usually used in particle board is the UF type.

Getting to Less Formaldehyde

There are actually two basic types of formaldehyde-based glues that are used in the wood-products industry. Phenol-formaldehyde (PF) glues are generally used in products designed for use outdoors and in construction-grade plywood.

 

As it turns out, PF glues only emit about 10% as much formaldehyde as the other popular formaldehyde-based glue, urea-formaldehyde (UF) glue. UF glues are often used for indoor construction and are common in cabinet-grade plywood. Obviously, if you must use a man-made wood product containing a formaldehyde glue, you’ll want to choose one that’s held together with PF glue rather than UF glue.

Industry Improvements

Says the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, "Manufacturers have reduced formaldehyde emissions from pressed wood products by 80-90% from the levels of the early 1980’s."

 

From An Update On Formaldehyde: 1997 Revision

 

 

(See sidebar, "Getting to Less Formaldehyde.") Because particle board is cheaper than plywood (after all, it’s only composed of tiny wood scraps and glue), builders often use it for subfloors, and it is widely used in cabinet construction as well. As a result, typical UF particleboard is often a major source of formaldehyde in new homes.

Alternative Materials

Some manufacturers are now producing formaldehyde-free particleboard. While these particular particleboard products are made with a non-formaldehyde glue, the softwood terpenes released from them could still make them intolerable for certain chemically sensitive individuals. If you are one of these, you’ll want to test these products for personal tolerance before you purchase a large quantity. In the end, you might find that a better choice would be to use a tolerable solid wood whenever you can.

 

 

 

HHI Error Correction Policy

HHI is committed to accuracy of content and correcting information that is incomplete or inaccurate. With our broad scope of coverage of healthful indoor environments, and desire to rapidly publish info to benefit the community, mistakes are inevitable. HHI has established an error correction policy to welcome corrections or enhancements to our information. Please help us improve the quality of our content by contacting allen@healthyhouseinstitute.com with corrections or suggestions for improvement. Each contact will receive a respectful reply.

The Healthy House Institute (HHI), a for-profit educational LLC, provides the information on HealthyHouseInstitute.com as a free service to the public. The intent is to disseminate accurate, verified and science-based information on creating healthy home environments.

 

While an effort is made to ensure the quality of the content and credibility of sources listed on this site, HHI provides no warranty - expressed or implied - and assumes no legal liability for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information, product or process disclosed on or in conjunction with the site. The views and opinions of the authors or originators expressed herein do not necessarily state or reflect those of HHI: its principals, executives, Board members, advisors or affiliates.

Man-Made Wood Products:  Created on February 7th, 2007.  Last Modified on February 28th, 2011

 

We do not strictly control Google ad content. If you believe any Google ad is inappropriate, please email us directly here.

 

 

Information provided by The Healthy House Institute is designed to support, not to replace the relationship between patient/physician or other qualified healthcare provider.

Education Partners

 

 

Popular Topics: Air Cleaners & Air Purifiers | Allergies & Asthma | Energy Efficiency & Energy Savings | Healthy Homes | Green Building
Green Cleaning | Green Homes | Green Living | Green Remodeling | Indoor Air Quality | Water Filters | Water Quality

© 2006-2017 The Healthy House Institute, LLC.

 

About The Healthy House Institute | Contact HHI | HHI News & Media | Linking Resources | Advertising Info | Privacy Policy | Legal Disclaimer

 

HHI Info