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Masonite hardboard and chemistry3/6
It used to be that Masonite and other hardboard formulations did not use formaldehyde in their manufacture. Is this still true. If I buy hardboard from HD or other places, am I getting a formaldehyde free product?
You need to ask them for a MSDS hazard sheet on the specific product you buy to know for sure .
Sounds good and is the obvious answer except for the fact that Home Depot uses a broad definition sheet for all MDF type products and it's not clear whether they refer to this particular subclass of product or not. Menards, another local supplier, does not mention the use of formaldehyde in their product, and warns of dust hazards only, but It's still not entirely clear to me that formaldehyde is absent. I need to hear from somebody who is 100% sure of the answer here. More particularly, it would be great to hear about a hardboard product that was made without formaldehyde as in old fashioned Masonite hardboard.
If you look at Home Depots' website for that material (http://www.homedepot.com/p/Unbranded-Hardboard-Tempered-Panel-Common-3-16-in-x-4-
Sounds great - but here's what I see:
13. REGULATORY INFORMATION
Those are what I term "boiler-plate", basically covering their behinds for all circumstances.
First, you have to remember that formaldehyde is present in all wood, trees cannot grow without it. So when Masonite states, "free of formaldehyde" they are incorrect, what they should say is "no added formaldehyde". There is formaldehyde in their product, but they didn't add any in the process of manufacturing it.
Wood dust has been considered "harmful" for many years, so they are telling you that if you don't use dust control, you can be exposed to "harmful" wood dust.
I assume that their legal department said "we have to cover every possible contingency" (just like there is something like 10 warning labels on every step ladder) so if someone claims injury by using their product they can say, "we told you about that", no matter how obvious (or not) the danger was.
When I order NAUF (no added urea formaldehyde) materials, all I worry about is whether formaldehyde is used in the manufacture of the product. I know there is formaldehyde in it, and I know if I cut it on a saw, it will generate dust which is considered harmful. Those two things are inherent with all wood products. All I care about is whether the manufacturer added formaldehyde during the process of making the board, that's all I can control.