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Formaldehyde Emissions from MDF and Plywood

Sometimes we are asked about formaldehyde levels in our materials. Mainly, are they safe to cut? The short answer is, yes, our MDF and plywoods are safe to cut.  But to explain why, here is a lengthy description.

So please forgive my long winded commentary.

We need to thank the state of California for a certification method of tracking formaldehyde emissions. CARB stands for the California Air Resources Board.  It is the state regulatory agency started by Ronald Reagan in 1967. They focus on air quality, including things like vehicle emissions.

Let's move to 2007, when CARB started to regulate formaldehyde emissions from composite woods. We are not talking solely about materials you cut in your laser. This regulates plywood, particle board, and MDF sold in California, including finished products like IKEA desks, flooring, photo frames and countertops. 

The key words here are CARB Phase II compliant. It has basically become the national standard since it was established. And it protects you from formaldehyde.  So we recommend purchasing materials that are CARB Phase II compliant. 

A second regulatory body with the EPA is TSCA compliance. This too regulates consumer safety for composite woods.

We purchase all of our material from a reputable distributor who has been in the business for 50 years, and has a major presence in California. I have asked them about their CARB Phase II compliance and they assure me they are compliant. At some point you need to determine the level of trust you have in a supplier. We have approached that by only purchasing from a trusted source.

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