The vast majority of furniture does not yet belong to 100% environmentally friendly products. The formaldehyde contained in board materials, especially in chipboard, where formaldehyde is a component of the adhesive mixture, prevents them from becoming such. This primarily applies to cabinet furniture. This undesirable substance in an excessive amount is unpleasant and people who use a lot of “stuffed” with formaldehyde furniture, and the furniture itself is harmful because such furniture is bought less and in general, according to modern sanitary norms, they are prohibited for use. However, whether there is really so much of that harmful substance in Ukrainian furniture and what standards are valid for them – we tell further.
- Formaldehyde panel furniture does not exist today
It is a mistake to think that board furniture that does not “smell” is generally formaldehyde-free. Formaldehyde is contained to a greater or lesser extent in all modern wood-based board materials because they have not yet learned to produce them without it. The task of manufacturers of such materials is to minimize the presence of formaldehyde in them, furniture makers should use such plate materials, and users of furniture made of board materials that somehow contain formaldehyde should use them properly.
- Our formaldehyde standards are the same as the basic European ones, and some are even stricter!
If earlier foreign sanitary and ecological norms on the content of formaldehyde in furniture products were much stricter than the Soviet ones, today the Ukrainian ones are practically harmonized with the European ones.
European standard for formaldehyde emissions from particleboard – EN 312: 2010 “Particleboards. Specifications ”(for chipboard classes E1≤ 8mg / 100 g oven-dry board and Е2> 8mg / 100 g oven-dry board) fully complies with the Ukrainian standard – DSTU EN 312-2018“ Particleboards. Particleboards. Technical requirements “.
The same applies to the requirements for testing board materials. European test method (determination of formaldehyde content by perforation method), defined by the standard EN ISO 12460 – 5: 2015 “Wood-based panels. Determination of formaldehyde release “corresponds to the Ukrainian DSTU ISO 12460-5-2018” Wood-based panels. Determination of formaldehyde content “.
Regarding the content of formaldehyde in particleboard, there are no differences between the European EN 312: 2010 and Ukrainian DSTU EN 312-2018 standards – they are identical. According to these standards, there are two classes of particleboard, which differ in the content of formaldehyde E1 and E2.
If we talk about particleboard E-LE (plate with a low content of formaldehyde), then this is a requirement of IKEA, in DSTU EN 312-2018 there is no such class as E 0.5 or E-LE.
European standards, which prescribe the procedure for determining the emission of formaldehyde by the chamber method (EN717-1: 2006 and EN 16516) are not valid in Ukraine.
Thus, today in Ukraine there is a valid DSanPiN 8.2.1-181-2012, where paragraph 3.10 prescribes the requirements for the level of formaldehyde release:
For particleboard – 0.01 mg / m2, for particleboard – 0.003 mg / m2.
The limit of formaldehyde release for particleboard is 0.124 mg / m2 (according to DSTU EN 312).
In Ukraine, there are no current European standards, which prescribe the requirements for chipboard, so the manufacturers of chipboard develop their own specifications.
IKEA requirement for chipboard – 0.65 mg / m² / h (testing is performed by gas analysis – a kind of chamber method, which uses special cameras).
Ukrainian suppliers of board materials test LDSP in a Polish laboratory by two methods – EN 717-1 and gas analytical EN 12460-3.
Below are the real results that fully satisfy the European consumer:
EN 717-1 – 0.012 mg / m2;
Gas analytical – 0.1 mg / m² / h.
The Ukrainian Furniture Manufacturers Association actively promotes the FURNITURE OF UKRAINE brand in the domestic and foreign markets and it is extremely important for Ukrainian furniture makers to have the same standards with European countries, which simplifies exports and contractual relations with potential customers.
That is why we are working on the inclusion of the UAFM Association in the National Standardization Program for 2022 in order to amend the DSanPiN on the limit of formaldehyde emissions for particleboard and particleboard in order to harmonize Ukrainian indicators with European ones.
- More about formaldehyde
It is also worth noting that formaldehyde in small proportions is necessary for the cells of the human body for their normal functioning. So, although it has an unpleasant smell for us, it is not deadly. Moreover, our body is adapted to “fight” with its excessive amount. Excess formaldehyde is rapidly destroyed by normal metabolic processes and excreted from the body. There is a concept of “half-life”, during which the concentration of this substance in the body is reduced by half. So: the half-life of formaldehyde in our blood is only one minute. This means that after twenty-two minutes the concentration of formaldehyde will decrease a million times.
And yet its excess in the air we breathe should be avoided. Even because it has a pungent odour. Furniture makers have known for a long time: a reliable way to significantly prevent furniture parts from releasing formaldehyde into the air is to qualitatively line their edges. And they definitely use it. However, it is not yet possible to completely avoid the release of a certain amount of formaldehyde by board furniture. Therefore, it is recommended that the premises in which a significant area is occupied by new composite and polymeric materials (particleboard, fiberboard, MDF, plywood, laminate, vinyl wallpaper, linoleum) or products from them, VENTILATIVE: requires complete air renewal in the room for an hour and so for several weeks. In the cold season, you should use household air purifiers with the function of “ozonation/ionization”.
All composite plates with emission class E1 and products from them according to sanitary norms are quite suitable for safe use in any living space. In cases where there are increased requirements for air quality – for example, in children’s rooms – you should order or choose to buy furniture that is made of boards with a minimum content of formaldehyde (E 0.5 or E-LE) or plywood brand FC. If you specify with reference to the manufacturers of such boards, it is chipboard Egger F ****, Kronospan E-LE, MDF class Carb2.
- Rules of operation of furniture from chipboard and LDSP
For the preservation of quality and long operation of furniture from the laminated chipboard (LDSP) it is necessary to fulfil certain conditions:
- Provide a dry and warm room.
- The room with new furniture should be ventilated for at least an hour a day during the first month.
- Choose a place to place furniture away from direct sunlight. Remember, open sunlight provokes a change in the colour of the product.
Install chipboard furniture at the maximum distance from any heating appliances (radiators, heating stoves, electric heaters, open oven, burners on, lighting fixtures, hot steam, etc.). Harmful temperature for furniture facades is a temperature higher than + 70 ° C, under its influence there is a deformation, peeling and peeling of the film.
- Protect the furniture from moisture on the end parts covered with film (mechanically chamfered parts) – this leads to swelling of the chipboard. In addition, under the action of moisture, the surface coating may change colour.
- Please use chipboard furniture for its intended purpose.
- Install only at surface level.
- Calculate the load to prevent the destruction of component furniture.
- When changing the location of chipboard furniture in the living room, first free them from things. It is also recommended to remove the doors and interior shelves, remove the drawers.
- It is necessary to transfer furniture, firmly holding them for lateral racks and a bottom, lifting them above a floor.
- Warning! Dragging on the floor, lifting the top cover for carrying has devastating consequences for the product.
- If it is necessary to repair and restore furniture, you need to contact specialists.
- To remove dust, use a dry soft cloth or a special furniture napkin.
- Do not use cleaning agents that contain acetone, paint thinners, detergents, or various abrasives, as they may damage the coating.
By fulfilling these conditions, you will preserve a high-quality appearance and extend the period of SAFE operation of furniture made of chipboard and particleboard for many years.