Saturday, April 24, 2010

No MDF here!

Medium density fiberboard, or MDF, is a composite wood product similar to particle board. It's made out of wood waste fibers glued together with resin, heat, and pressure. MDF is appropriate for many applications, from cabinetry to molding, because it is smooth, uniform, and won't warp.

MDF has a nice, smooth finish. It cuts great and the paint goes on beautifully. It's cheaper to buy. So why wouldn't I use it over wood?

In all fibreboards such as MDF, formaldehyde resins are used to bond together the constituent parts. This is usually urea formaldehyde, but some fibreboard including exterior or marine quality board will use stronger glues such as phenol formaldehyde.

Even at a low levels, exposure to formaldehyde though inhalation can cause irritation to the eyes, nose, throat and mucous membrane. Formaldehyde can also affect the skin, leading to dermatitis, and the respiratory system causing asthma and rhinitis. The International Agency for Research on
Cancer (IARC), part of the World Health Organization, quoted evidence that even short term exposure to formaldehyde could cause irritation to the eyes, nose and throat.

The IARC's findings also stated that wood dust is a carcinogen' (cancer causing) and that 'formaldehyde is probably carcinogenic to humans'. IARC was also concerned about the reproductive hazards of formaldehyde'.

Although the greatest risks are in the cutting and sanding of MDF, the formaldehyde is still known to seep out through it over time, even when it's painted.

Yep! I'll stick with wood, thanks! I think you will also appreciate knowing the products you buy from me are safe for you and your family!


  1. Wow. That's good to know! I had no idea!

  2. This girl knows what she is talking about! Good on ya Kristina for spreading the word. It is scary stuff that mdf. So sad that lots of new houses are using it for base boards and trim. (Great blog by the way.)

  3. We actually used it for the baseboards in our house. I used to cut with it too. I didn't know. Better late than never!