Formaldehyde: What you need to know

More and more of our clients are curious about formaldehyde in our wood cabinetry products. Our friends at Draper DBS have developed a quick Q & A sheet that we wanted to share with you to help to educate you on this important matter.

What is Formaldehyde?
Formaldehyde is a naturally occurring chemical compound produced by the human body and plants on a daily basis. It is a common component of many household products, such as cleaning solutions, clothing and plastics.

Is formaldehyde bad for you?
Formaldehyde is a volatile organic compound (VOC). Like other common VOCs, such as those in household products, when encountered in very large quantities, Formaldehyde can have negative health effects.

Is Formaldehyde content regulated?
Yes. The California Air Resources Board (CARB) evaluated formaldehyde exposure to humans. It established that a safe exposure to formaldehyde emissions is below 0.05 parts per million. The Kitchen Cabinet Manufacturers’ Association’s Environmental Stewardship Program (ESP) has also adopted CARB’s guidelines. Under its air quality category, the ESP ensures the use of low formaldehyde (<0.05 ppm) particleboard, medium density fiberboard and plywood.

Why is formaldehyde in wood products?
When combined with urea, another naturally occurring chemical compound, the reaction creates a resit that serves as a permanent adhesive. Urea-formaldehyde is effective in binding plywood, MDF and particleboard.

Can I buy formaldehyde-free products?
No. Small amounts of formaldehyde are naturally emitted in wood, so no wood product can ever be truly formaldehyde-free. Products claiming to be “formaldehyde-free” are actually saying that no urea-formaldehyde was added to the natural levels of formaldehyde already found on the product.

What is no-added urea-formaldehyde?
No added urea-formaldehyde (NAUF) describes materials that have not added any additional urea-formaldehyde in the manufacturing process. NAUF products use alternative adhesive components such as soy.

What do Hollywood Sierra Kitchens’ manufacturers offer?
We offer our clients and operate under the gold standard with Draper DBS and other manufacturers’ no added urea-formaldehyde products. Draper DBS supplies only NAUF plywood and fiberboard by offering products such as PureBond, which uses soy-based adhesives in construction. Clients can be assured that all adhesive and sealants we use meet or exceed the low-emission standards established by CARB.