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Outlaw urea-formaldehyde MDF (medium density fiberboard) in the workplace

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  1.    What Is The Concern About MDF?

The biggest concern is exposure to formaldehyde gas that is emitted from the product. The glue used in MDF is usually urea formaldehyde (UF), a solid chemical made from a mixture of urea and formaldehyde. Extra formaldehyde may be added to the urea to make a stronger bond. The more extra formaldehyde there is, the more formaldehyde will be trapped in the wood and later emitted as a gas. MDF made with UF may emit formaldehyde gas for months or years after it is manufactured. Small amounts of formaldehyde also may be present in MDF wood dust. Throughout the last few years, it has become more common for manufacturers of MDF to:

• Lower the amount of added formaldehyde in the UF resin;

• Use alternate glues which emit less formaldehyde, such as melamine formaldehyde or phenolformaldehyde; and

• Use glues with no added formaldehyde, such as soy, polyvinyl acetate, or methylene diisocyanate

   2. Formaldehyde: What Are The Health Effects?

Prolonged exposure to formaldehyde can result in cancer, including nasal and sinus cancer and leukemia. These cancers take several years or decades to develop (usually 10-15 years). Working eight hours daily for 40 years at the level of the government standard would give you a risk of about two in a thousand for getting cancer.* When formaldehyde is present in the air, some individuals may experience adverse effects such as watery eyes, burning sensations in the eyes, nose, and throat, coughing, wheezing, nausea, and skin irritation. Repeated exposure to formaldehyde may cause bronchitis or a skin- and asthma-like allergy. Some people are very sensitive to formaldehyde, whereas others have no reaction to the same level of exposure but prolonged use can be detrimental.

3. Sign this petition and help ban the product urea-formaldehyde MDF in Canada. It will be giving working canadians a healthier environment while at work. The Hazardous Product Act of Bill C-13 needs to be updated and conform to health and safety concerns in the workplace. The use of MDF without formaldehyde is available. Formaldehyde-free MDF is marketed under several trade names; two of the best known are Medex and Medite II.

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