The Importance of Low-Emitting Wood

The Importance of Low-Emitting Wood

December 9, 2021

People often use wood in their home, as a construction material, furniture, or just decoration. While wood is a healthy, organic material, it has a hidden detrimental effect that you may not know. A way to counteract this effect is by using low emission wood.

Have you ever felt your eyes hurting while being near plywood products? That was probably due to the high formaldehyde content in wood glue. Every plywood and other wooden products should be marked with their Formaldehyde Emission Grade.

Kayu Lapis Indonesia only uses high-quality glue. We are the only company that uses ULEF (Ultra-Low Emitting Formaldehyde) standard wood glue in Indonesia.

There are different standardised methods that are used in formaldehyde determination.

  • Japan has one of the strictest Formaldehyde Emission standards in the world, called JAS JPIC Standard.

  • If a structural plywood is rated F4 Star, the plywood has the lowest Formaldehyde Emission value (0.3 mg/liter)

  • CARB (California Air Resources Board) has set the limits of formaldehyde emissions as well.

  • They even regulate the highest standard called Ultra-Low Emitting Formaldehyde (ULEF), which we use on our plywood too.

  • Long exposure to high levels of formaldehyde can lead to severe health problems. 

Formaldehyde is a colorless gas which is hazardous to health. So, every plywood and other wooden products should be marked with their Formaldehyde Emission Grade.

The glue plant at Kayu Lapis Indonesia. has an additional advantage of being the first in Indonesia with ULEF (Ultra-Low emitting Formaldehyde) certification. It also has JAS JPIC standard with F4 Star rate, which means our plywood has the lowest Formaldehyde Emission value (0.3 mg/liter). 

The negative effect mentioned above is formaldehyde emission. Formaldehyde is a substance that occurs naturally in living things, especially in wood. In very little amount, formaldehyde is harmless. However, increasing the dose will prove harmful, even fatal, to living organisms. 

Wood naturally emits formaldehyde in a very small amount. It is a part of its chemical structure. It is emitted more strongly when the wood is processed with heat and pressure.

Not only from wood itself, more formaldehyde is emitted from the wood glue that binds the wood together. This is especially true for plywood and particle boards because they use a significant amount of wood glue to bring the wood pieces together.

Since wood is prominent in our everyday life, it is important to have wood products with low emission rates. Natural wood emits 0,1 to 0,3 mg/L formaldehyde.

More than 0,1 ppm of formaldehyde in the air can cause coughing, burning sensations in the eyes, and skin irritation.

2 ppm of formaldehyde for 15 minutes is enough to pose a danger to human health.

Formaldehyde is also known as a carcinogen, a substance that could cause cancer in humans if inhaled or ingested in a certain dose.

Low emission wood is important because it is safer and healthier than its higher emission counterpart.