Non-toxic cabinetry is something that’s slowly starting to become more mainstream, even though cabinets made with dangerous formaldehyde are still out there. For example, some cabinets designed for children are still being manufactured with glues containing formaldehyde. Not too many years ago, formaldehyde was considered a carcinogen by the Environmental Protection Agency, and it was banned in Europe. Here in America, it might be surprising to see some elements of it still being used in designing cabinetry. Regardless, some states have stricter regulations on its use now.
The good news is that plenty of hardwood plywood exists that isn’t manufactured with formaldehyde. Unfortunately, the top layer of more common hardwood plywood is held together with glues containing what’s called urea-formaldehyde, or UF for short. When the UF slowly gets into the air, breathing it over time is where the health concerns are.
Along with hardwood plywood, you’ll find the same UF glues in particleboard. The latter is also used commonly for indoor cabinetry because it appears to be environmentally friendly. Yes, it still is considering particleboard is made from wood chips and plant fibers. However, formaldehyde glues are typically used as an adhesive.
So what better options can you find now when buying a cabinet? With new types of plywood being made, you can help forward the fresh title of “green cabinetry.”
Alternative Methods to Creating Cabinets
Recently, more sustainable cabinets have been made that stay away from using UF fiberboard. This can be done by avoiding glue completely and putting cabinets together with basic joinery. Even baked enamel metal has been used as a creative alternative that doesn’t emit dangerous chemicals into the air.
There’s even been a soy-based adhesive manufactured in recent years by Columbia Forest Products. It’s been deemed very cost effective when compared to the standard method of assembling hardwood plywood.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, sometimes coating a UF cabinet with polyurethane will help reduce emissions. The only problem is that you have to make sure the coating is thorough or it won’t work.
Ultimately, your best solution is to choose certified plywood that no longer uses UF glues. Here at B&R Construction, we’re a leading and committed source in providing green cabinetry for your home. You can feel safe placing our cabinets in any part of the house without worry about undetected formaldehyde fumes permeating for years.
Contact us and we’ll work with you to design the cabinets you’ve always wanted using many of the green production methods available. We’re a family-owned business, and we care about the health and safety of the families who come to us to help design cabinets for their new or existing homes.