I remember when medium-density fibreboard (MDF) was first introduced to the workshop whilst I was an apprentice carpenter in the late 1970's, it was quite revolutionary at the time to have a material that you could cut easily, which gave a smooth, knot free finish mind you, get it wet and it resembles Weetabix – permanently!. Rumours were soon rife apparently the resin used to bind the wood fibres to make MDF contains formaldehyde, we heard that some manufacturers made anyone working with MDF to wear masks and they had to seal the products exposed edges. Was this the next asbestos? It still isn’t known for sure whether the formaldehyde emissions reach harmful levels, the State of California has classified formaldehyde as a known carcinogen
Fortunately, the majority of my time as a carpenter was spent working with the real stuff – solid wood, there were growing concerns at the time that we were damaging the environment by cutting down so many trees but this has been largely overcome by planting sustainable forests so now we can use this beautiful natural product without harm.
Wouldn’t you rather have solid wood from sustainable forests in your home?