Woodworking Experts:Please help with a MDF wood question.....

sammy107September 4, 2008

Have my heart set on a bathroom vanity from Vanico-Maronyx Company but can't really afford the ones they do in wood. They also make their vanities in MDF wood and its described on their website as:

"Excel medium density fiberboard (density 32% higher than standard MDF) covered with a slice of wood, grooved and then finshed with clear lacquer; 2 coats of lacquer applied in cross coats,(horizontally and verically; waterproofing and non-yellowing lacquer containing 40% of solid matter; resistant to humidity; final thickness of 4 to 5 mil, which is close to double the industry standard"

I contacted the company about the formaldehyde content of the product and was told:

"The MDF and particle board used in the production are both urea formaldehyde and specs are standing that they are less than 0.30 ppm. The lacquer is solvent base and we see on the tech sheet that "This product has a very low formaldehyde emission and meets the German E1 specification for formaldehyde emission. It does not contain ketones, methanol or aromatics and is also free from D.O.P. and D.B.P. plasticizers. HAPs free solvents."

We have a 5x8 bathroom with a skylight and a vent but no window. Given some of the info I've read on posts, I am thoroughly confused as to whether this is a wise (& healthy!) purchase.

Can anyone out there translate this for me and tell me what you think??

Thanks!!

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Jon1270

I think you're looking for a biochemist rather than a woodworker on this one. I know that I'm thoroughly unqualified to analyze those numbers in anything like an authoritative manner. Nevertheless, my understanding is that formaldehyde is, and has been for a long time, an extremely common presence in all sorts of building materials. Unless your house was specially built by someone who spared no expense and bent over backwards to avoid formaldehyde-laden materials, it seems unlikely that one cabinet, sealed inside a heavy film finish, would have much impact on the overall formaldehyde levels in the house. As to the small size of the room, consider that any given person will not be spending extended periods of time in that room, and that most of the time the door will be open so the air in the room will mix with the air in the rest of the house. Anytime the heat or AC is running, air will be circulated in and out of that room by force.

Unless I knew that I or someone in my family was especially sensitive to the stuff, I wouldn't worry over this for a moment.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2008 at 8:38AM
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HandyMac

Agree with jon, with this added. MDF and lacquer are both susceptable to moisture damage, unless the lacquer is of the catalysed variety---which variety it is I have no idea.

I think I'd do some more looking/saving or try replanning to allow for the better material.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2008 at 10:01AM
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sammy107

Thank you both for your imput. My husband did find out the company meets stringent German E-1 standards for formaldehyde emissions and those are 7 times lower than is what is allowed under OSHA.

Appreciate your comments- I really have to stop obsessing about this!!!

    Bookmark   September 5, 2008 at 10:53PM
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