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Low VOC MDF, particleboard or Plywood board

Further to discussions under Better Detailed Design about Volatile Organic Compounds, joinery MDF or plywood should be specified as E0 board (Zero emissions board).

Formaldehyde (which generates VOCs) is used in the production of resins that act as glues for engineered wood products and is a colourless gas with a strong odour. Exposure to formaldehyde can cause irritation in the eyes, nose and throat with various authorities recommend E1 as a maximum emissions class but E0 board is readily available and has a lower level of emissions.

Reduced formaldehyde emissions in engineered wood products are classed as below:

Class - Limits (mg/L)

Super E0 - Less than or equal to 0.3

E0 - Less than or equal to 0.5

E1 - Less than or equal to 1.0

E2 - Less than or equal to 2.0

E3 - Greater than 2.0

Companies offering low formaldehyde products include:

  • Polytec offers E1 and E0.

  • Nikpol offers E1, E0 and Super E0 for select products.

  • Austral Plywood E1, E0 and Super E0 for select products.

  • Laminex Australia offer E1, E0, Super E0 and no added formaldehyde for select products.

Care with Engineered stone benchtops

With the proliferation of engineered stone benchtops over the last 20 years, workplace health and safety standards have not always been applied, and there is now starting to be a proliferation of tradesmen suffering from potentially terminal siliosis (which is fine silica dust building up in a persons lungs). 

If specifying engineered stone products, check with the supplier that workplace standards for cutting the stone wet and the use of respiratory equipment (masks) is applied by the supplier. Also ensure the stone is not cut onsite.

Bamboo joinery

Bamboo sheets up to 40mm are available for joinery carcases and benchtops. Contact Leto Bamboo for further technical advice. 

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