MDF and formaldehyde

Discussion in 'Carpenters' Talk' started by woodsmith, Mar 17, 2004.

  1. woodsmith

    woodsmith New Member

    MDF has had some bad press of late with regard to the formaldehyde that it releases. I understand the Germans now have 0 emission MDF which uses lignin as the adhesive, does anyone know how far we are in the UK regarding lignin based MDF? My supplier looked blank when I asked.

    Could have repercussions fitting MDF, if it is found to be dangerous, would be disasterous if I have to go and remove it.

  2. Dewy

    Dewy New Member

    I can well understand that.
    All my kids did woodwork in school but the only 'wood' was MDF.
    Will the local authorities be liable if the dust affects kids health in later years?
    The only MDF I have ever had here is for making router jigs.
    Since hearing about the dangers I made sure I wore a mask.
  3. woodsmith

    woodsmith New Member

    Dewy it is certainly dangerous in its production and when being machined, causing respiratory problems and skin contact with the dust can cause dermatitis.

    But it releases minute ammounts of formaldehyde for years, although from the information I have received painting prevents this.

    Wearing a mask gives only marginal protection, the tiny particles can pass through most masks, efficient extraction at source is the best protection.

    The fact that they are now producing a non formaldehyde based board in Germany is worrying and, as I am just about to fit a large bedroom out with a substantial ammount of MDF I don't want any come backs.
  4. big all

    big all Screwfix Select

    as you are completely unaware of any danger and where
    working in good faith in accordance with all
    regulations legally i think you are ok morally is of
    course a different thing i think its banned in america
    but its not banned here if you get no guidance from
    above how can their be any comeback
    i personally use it with great care because i think the
    greatest risk is the dust horrible stuff
    i always wipe it down always cut it in the open air
    and do not expose any one to more dust than i can help

    what more can we do

    big all
  5. oggie

    oggie New Member

    Used to buy it from california by trailor load got band in the States late eighties thats why they had a big purge here trying to get us all to use it
    Most of it got then made in Ireland and by sterling board in Scotland
    We had twenty ton at any given time curing in the factory
    it affects your sinuses and eyes bitlike CS gas
    Any one with employees and you have not got adequate extraction look out!!!!!!!!!!
  6. dirtydeeds

    dirtydeeds New Member

    Morefields told me the MDF dust in my eye was about .3 microns. I now have a festool dust extractor. getting used to using powertools with a dust extraction hose is a pain and the b'std thing is expensive but I rekon it paid for itself in three weeks flat because it has reduced my hoovering up time (I don't have a labourer to do it for me)
  7. woodsmith

    woodsmith New Member

    oggie I've looked into this pretty thoroughly and it appears there is no ban on it in the US but they have to put a warning on anything made with it so people avoid it.

    This is a grey area now because those in the trade know it is potentially dangerous, so using it is a problem.

    But there is no really good alternative, from what I have gleaned chipboard uses the same glue and anyway gives a pretty poor surface, ply is probably the only option but again the surface is not smooth.
  8. jasonb

    jasonb New Member

    "But there is no really good alternative,"

    Medite make both "LF" Low Formaldehyde and "ZF" Zero Formaldehyde boards. You just need to shop around until you find a stockest, most of the big board suppliers should be able to help

  9. big all

    big all Screwfix Select

    thanks for the alternative jayson
    are we talking mega bucks or slightly more

    big all
  10. Tangoman

    Tangoman Well-Known Member


    don't know about the dust itself - I guess this is the same as with any other particulate dust levels, e.g plaster - but the formaldehyde side of things. It is rapidly metabolised by the body, so if it ain't already caused you any problems, don't worry that previous exposure will do so in the future. It ain't like asbestos (hangs around waiting with the killer blow).
    So I'd just worry about the dust :)
  11. oggie

    oggie New Member

    As i said we bought it in from the states and the result of your sticker came from a ban on using it until they Identified the problem However we could no longer get it direct and had to start using Medite correct me if im wrong manufactured in Ireland
    And although it doesn't give you lung cancer as yet not proven Does play a ***** with your sinesus and eyes Before extraction Any users waken up in the morning with your eylids glued (_)????????????
    Like asbestos when I was an apprentice was told drink plenty of milk and youll be fine
    We used to cut it on a monosaw no extraction dust every where.
    So DIYers GEM UP
    No order just altogether
  12. Sick on the Cat

    Sick on the Cat New Member

    hi ya guys,

    check this out.
  13. jasonb

    jasonb New Member

    Big All, Expect to pay about 50% more for ZF grade based on loose boards and small orders.

    Most named brands of MDF such as medite & caber are actually Class A low formaldihyde but some of the cheap imported contractor quality boards may not be. Exterior medite also contains no formaldihyde but is probably stuck together with something equally nasty.

  14. big all

    big all Screwfix Select

    thanks jason for your info you probably right about
    look at victorian women they used to put lead powder on
    their skin to keep there complexion pale and all it done
    was to send them mad

    big all
  15. Gotcher

    Gotcher New Member

    thanks jason for your info you probably right about
    look at victorian women they used to put lead powder
    their skin to keep there complexion pale and all it
    was to send them mad

    In the film "The Day Of The Jackal" the hero was advised to swallow the contents of a couple of bullets (I seem to recall), because gunpowder gives you a complexion.

    Don't try this at home kids!

  16. woodsmith

    woodsmith New Member

    Jason I used to use Medite for making loudspeakers didn't realise you could get it formaldehyde free, all I've got to do now is find someone who stocks it. Closest so far 100 mies :(

    Tangoman research has indicated that exposure to formaldehyde may affect fertility, so not so good for a bedroom ;)

  17. hondabird

    hondabird New Member

  18. Tangoman

    Tangoman Well-Known Member

    Is that your research woodsmith? ;O)
  19. woodsmith

    woodsmith New Member

    Definitely not, if the government are saying it is safe I won't use it again:)

    This report is far less rigorous than most of the other reports on the net.

    Dust is a major problem with machining wood but it is possible to work safely; it is the long term effects that are worrying.
  20. Dewy

    Dewy New Member

    Who believes what the government say?
    It's like power lines near to houses. Nearly everyone living there complain about unexplained illnesses yet the government still say that it is safe.
    They should try living under power lines.
    If you can leave lights by cables that need no electrical connection to glow, what does it do for peoples bodies?
    Leukemia clusters near nuclear power stations.
    The list is endless.
    It all boils down to big business.
    The daren't tell the truth or companies couldn't afford to change & would go out of business.

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice