Can I buy a formaldehyde free kitchen cabinet? It seems the answer is no.
But what is formaldehyde and why should we be concerned about it?
Back in 2006 I was asked just that question and to be honest I did not have a clue what formaldehyde in furniture was, as it has turned out my research has been a revelation.
The customer asking the question was the Buying Agent for a Japanese company where more or less all MDF and VOC related products are banned. They ordered a solid wood kitchen and we supplied them with kitchen and bathroom cabinets for many years.
So what is Formaldehyde and MDF? Should it be further regulated?
Formaldehyde is a naturally occurring volatile organic compound (VOC) meaning that it becomes a gas at room temperature. It is all around us naturally and is used in the manufacture of many products.
MDF is medium-density fibre board, an engineered wood product made of wood fibres and combined with wax and a resin binder. I discovered that MDF was ‘rumoured’ to be banned in France, America & Australia and cannot be sold without a health-warning label as it can release a high amount of formaldehyde.
So could this really be as harmful as asbestos in the future?
We recently supplied an interior designer with a kitchen for a client with an allergy to formaldehyde, using 100% solid wood, low VOC paints and lacquers to dramatically reduce the amount of formaldehyde gases released, to give the client an acceptable healthy environment.
It seems that you cannot totally eliminate formaldehyde, (even an apple has a small amount) but you can greatly reduce the levels of this gas, making it a lot easier to tolerate.
Since those early days we have supplied solid wood cabinetry to many customers with allergies, we never use MDF or chipboard in the construction of our cabinets, and we take care in reducing emissions where we can in the manufacture of our cabinets.
As it occurs naturally, we cannot avoid formaldehyde but maybe an increase in allergies are a warning that we are starting to be less tolerant of the higher levels we inflict on our bodies? We might be healthier and breathe more easily if we greatly reduce the formaldehyde added to products around us?
For more information on our low emission cabinets contact our Head Office.