PPM Technology

PPM Technology

Formaldehyde release from wood-based panels.


Source: PPM Technology

Formaldehyde is a toxic chemical widely used to manufacture building materials and various household products. It is also a by-product of combustion and certain other natural processes. Therefore, it may be present in substantial concentrations both indoors and outdoors.

Formaldehyde is often used in the manufacture of adhesive resin which acts as glue in the manufacture of pressed wood products. The resins traditionally employed in the wood panel industry are urea formaldehyde (UF), melamine formaldehyde (MF), melamine urea formaldehyde (MUF) and phenol formaldehyde. UF resins are the most widely used type.

Wood-based panel products can emit small amounts of formaldehyde and each product type has a product standard governing the testing and certification of that product for formaldehyde emissions.

Particle Board and MDF - Both particleboard and MDF generally use urea formaldehyde (UF) resins, which emit small amounts of formaldehyde.

Decorative Plywood and Composites - Decorative plywood and veneered composites using urea formaldehyde (UF) or melamine formaldehyde resins are used for interior applications such as panelling, cabinets or furniture.

Structural Panels - OSB and Plywood – In structural panels such as OSB and plywood exterior type phenol formaldehyde and isocyanate resins are used; the amount of formaldehyde emitted is considered very small. 

Anyone involved in the manufacture of any of these products could be exposed to formaldehyde. Unless due care and attention is given formaldehyde emissions can reach dangerous levels at panel mills’ production lines. Ventilation in these facilities must be good; it is advised to sample airborne levels formaldehyde regularly to ensure workers aren’t at risk of overexposure.

Safety and Detection

In buildings and facilities where wood-based panels are manufactured it is important that formaldehyde levels are regularly monitored.

In order to ensure employees are not exposed to dangerous concentrations of Formaldehyde in the air, it is advised to detect and monitor levels with a suitable detection instrument. Real time results mean that potential over exposures can be identified as they occur, without the delay associated with laboratory analysis. If a dangerous level is detected employees can be evacuated until the risk is subdued.

'Overexposure to airborne formaldehyde is dangerous to health, but the risks can be substantially reduced if levels are regularly measured and monitored,' said PPM Technology’s MD John B Jones.

PPM Technology has significant experience in the design and development of instruments for accurate detection and measurement of Formaldehyde.

Our Formaldemeter range of instruments has been in existence for over 10 years. We continuously develop and improve the instruments to achieve better performance and features. Our latest instruments are the Formaldemeter htV-m and htV.

The Formaldemeter htV-m is able to accurately detect and monitor formaldehyde, temperature and humidity in real-time.  It can be used as a manual hand-held instrument or as a continuous monitoring device capable of up to one month of data-logging. The htV-M can precisely measure formaldehyde concentrations in parts per million (ppm) and mg/m3 over a wide range of temperature and humidity. The built in memory and real time clock enables the htV-m to log all 3 parameters and corresponding times, allowing improved monitoring and analysis opportunities.

The Formaldemeter htV is a manual hand-held instrument, which can take instantaneous single-point measurements of Formaldehyde, Temperature and Humidity.  

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