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Material Collection

Composite Wood Products

Wood is considered a natural and healthy material in itself. However, by nature of being glued together, composite wood products often contain formaldehyde, a known human carcinogen. Formaldehyde, additionally, is a volatile organic compound (VOC), making it likely to off-gas into the indoor environment. For the healthiest products, look for NAF composite woods that are free of regrettable substitutions.

The composite wood products in this collection all comply with the California Air Resource Board (CARB) standard for No Added Formaldehyde (NAF), No Added Urea formaldehyde (NAUF), or Ultra-Low Emitting Formaldehyde (ULEF), and have been evaluated to make sure they are not regrettably substituting formaldehyde for a resin containing other hazardous substances, such as MDI, isocyanates, or polyurethane. As of 2018, CARB no longer recognizes No Added Urea Formaldehyde (NAUF) products.

Composite Wood Products

5 products
How to Use This List

About Our Collections

The goal of our collections is to help promote transparency in the material ingredients of building products by fostering knowledge and awareness of products and materials for which life-cycle information is available, and that have environmentally, economically, and socially preferable life-cycle impacts.

Keep an eye out for the following symbols:
A Healthier Affordable Building Product

Products with the designation of "Healthier & Affordable" were specified and installed in at least one of our Case Studies of healthier affordable housing.

Available at the Donghia healthier Materials Library

The Donghia healthier Materials Library library is open to Parsons student and faculty. Learn more about access and opening hours here.

New Product

This product has been added to the collection within the past six months.

Ingredient Disclosures

There are several ways of evaluating a material’s health that we include with product information. Disclosures are reports by manufacturers about product ingredients, impacts, or other attributes.

Key Disclosures include:
Health Product Declaration (HPD)

A voluntary technical specification for reporting information on product contents and associated health information, intended to be the health-analogue to Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs).

Declare Label

Declare is a transparency platform and product database that answers three questions: 
  1. Where does a product come from?
  2. What is it made of?
  3. Where does it go at the end of its life?

Environmental Product Declaration (EPD)

A standardized format for communicating the environmental effects associated with a product’s raw materials extraction, energy use, chemical makeup, waste generation, and emissions to air, soil, and water.

Safety Data Sheet (SDS)

A reporting format that provides basic information about a material’s chemical ingredients, the potential safety hazards to installers, and recommended practices for installation.

Other
Learn More
Category Sub-category Manufacturer Product Ingredient Disclosures

PureBond Hardwood Plywood

A Healthier Affordable Building Product
Available At the Donghia Materials Library

Columbia Forest Product's PureBond hardwood plywood is formaldehyde-free, and is instead made with a soy-based binder. This North American-made product is also cost-competitive with standard plywood products, making it a fantastic healthier alternative.


Category
Dimensional Surface, Plywood
Manufacturer
Columbia Forest Products
Product Website

Material composition *

Wood Dust 95.65%, Other components below the reportable levels, (the specific chemical identity and/or percentage of composition has been held withheld as a trade secret) <1%

*As reported by manufacturer and product SDS

AVAILABLE SIZING

2’x 4’, 2’x 8’, 4’x 8’, 4’x 10’ Panels - available in standard thickness

COLORS

Variety of wood species

CERTIFICATIONS & DISCLOSURES
Health Product Declaration (HPD)
Declare Label
Environmental Product Declaration (EPD)
Safety Data Sheet (SDS) icon-pdf Created with Sketch.
Other
FSC Certification
Rainforest Alliance Certification
Last Updated

September 26, 2016

Download data sheet icon-pdf Created with Sketch.

PureBond Classic Core® Plywood

A Healthier Affordable Building Product
Available At the Donghia Materials Library

Classic Core® is a combination core panel construction where cross bands of thin MDF are utilized in place of veneer cross bands.

Classic Core® can be manufactured with bonded crossbands which do not contain added formaldehyde. PureBond Classic Core® may contribute to LEED® 2009 credit IEQ 4.4 and conforms to CARB II exempt emission requirements called for in LEED V4.


Category
Dimensional Surface, Plywood
Manufacturer
Columbia Forest Products
Product Website

Material composition *

Wood Dust 98%, Polymerized Methylenediphenyl-Diisocyanate <10%

*As reported by manufacturer and product SDS

AVAILABLE SIZING

4’x 8’, 4’x 10’ Panels - 1/2”, 5/8”, 3/4”, 1” and 1-1/4” thickness

COLORS

Variety of wood species

CERTIFICATIONS & DISCLOSURES
Health Product Declaration (HPD)
Declare Label
Environmental Product Declaration (EPD)
Safety Data Sheet (SDS) icon-pdf Created with Sketch.
Other
FSC Certification
Rainforest Alliance Certification
Last Updated

September 26, 2016

Download data sheet icon-pdf Created with Sketch.

Viroc

Available At the Donghia Materials Library

Viroc is a composite material, made from a mixture of pine wood particles and cement. This lends the particle board the flexibility of wood with the look of poured concrete. Viroc is ideal for interior cladding, ceilings, trim, countertop, and other specialty applications. This material is moisture resistant, fire retardant, and load bearing, and provides thermal and acoustic insulation.


Category
Dimensional Surface, Particle Board
Manufacturer
Investwood
Product Website

Material composition *

Portland Cement, Pine wood shavings, Sodium Silicate, Aluminum Sulphate, Water

*As reported by manufacturer and SDS

AVAILABLE SIZING

2600 x 1250 mm / 3000 x 1250 mm, thickness range 8mm-32mm

COLORS

Yellow, Red, Black, Blue, White, Ocher, Grey, in both sanded and un-sanded

COUNTRY OF MANUFACTURE

CERTIFICATIONS & DISCLOSURES
Health Product Declaration (HPD)
Declare Label
Environmental Product Declaration (EPD)
Safety Data Sheet (SDS) icon-pdf Created with Sketch.
Other
Last Updated

February 27, 2018

Download data sheet icon-pdf Created with Sketch.

Wood Doors

A Healthier Affordable Building Product

Haley Brother's hollow core doors are NAUF, meaning they are made with no added urea formaldehyde. The doors are made from a honeycomb paper core and finished with a hardwood veneer, and are recommended for interior use.


Category
Door, Wood Veneer
Manufacturer
Haley Brothers
Product Website

Material composition *

Expanded paper core, softwood lock blocks, type II interior adhesive, hardwood laminate face

*As reported by manufacturer

AVAILABLE SIZING

4' x 10', available in 1 3/8" or 1 3/4" thick

COLORS

Wide range of wood types and colors

CERTIFICATIONS & DISCLOSURES
Health Product Declaration (HPD)
Declare Label
Environmental Product Declaration (EPD)
Safety Data Sheet (SDS)
Other
Last Updated

September 26, 2016

Download data sheet icon-pdf Created with Sketch.

Cendura Standard Wood Veneer Doors

A Healthier Affordable Building Product

The Cendura Standard Wood Veneer Door was previously sold under the brand name Mohawk. Their doors meet CARB Phase 2 standards for formaldehyde emissions. ULEF and FSC doors are available upon request.

*NOTE: This product is available in ULEF as opposed to NAF, meaning it contains low-emitting formaldehyde.


Category
Door, Wood Veneer
Manufacturer
Masonite Architectural
Product Website

Material composition *

Surface: wood veneer, Crossbands: high density fiberboard (HDF), Vertical edges: softwood/low density hardwood, Horizontal edges: structural composite lumber, Adhesive: type 1, Core: structural composite lumber

*As reported by manufacturer

AVAILABLE SIZING

up to 4'x9' singles and 8'x10' pairs, available in 1 3/8" or 1 3/4" thick

COLORS

Wide range of wood types and colors

CERTIFICATIONS & DISCLOSURES
Health Product Declaration (HPD)
Declare Label
Environmental Product Declaration (EPD)
Safety Data Sheet (SDS)
Other
Last Updated

September 26, 2016

Download data sheet icon-pdf Created with Sketch.

The products in this collection have all been evaluated holistically for their contents and performance. To be considered, a product must disclose at least 75% of its ingredients by weight and avoid the biggest health concerns, as indicated by their disclosure documentation. For composite wood, this means that it complies with the California Air Resource Board (CARB) standard for No Added Formaldehyde (NAF) or Ultra-Low Emitting Formaldehyde (ULEF). We understand polyurethane and isocyanates such as MDA to be a regrettable substitution for formaldehyde. However we do not see enough options in the current market that are free of both formaldehyde and isocyanates, and believe formaldehyde to be a more pressing health concern. The products in this collection all have isocyanate levels at or below 10%.

*Note that, as of March 22, 2019, all non-structural composite wood products need to be EPA TSCA Title VI Compliant. TSCA Title VI uses similar criteria to CARB Phase II; a comparison of the two standards can be found here. In order to comply, composite woods must be below certain formaldehyde emissions thresholds, or certified as CARB NAF or ULEF.

Spec Guidance

Prefer FSC or SFI certified wood. The certification from the Forest Stewardship or Sustainable Forestry Initiative ensure that the materials are sourced responsibly and sustainably. If specifying wood from your region, ensure that it is sustainably grown and harvested.

Solid wood can be the healthiest choice. Consider if solid wood is an option before looking for composite-wood products. Solid wood omits the need for resins or binders altogether, avoiding concerns of formaldehyde or regrettable substitutions.

Be mindful of the amount of binder. Because the binder contains most of the formaldehyde in composite wood products, less binder means less toxic content. Plywood tends to have the lowest amount (3.5% by weight), while MDF, HDF, and particleboard have much higher concentrations (10%, 11.4%, and 12.4% respectively). (HomeFree)

Prefer products that meet the NAF Standard for No Added Formaldehyde. This is currently the highest federal standard regulating formaldehyde. If NAF is not an option, consider products that are labeled as Ultra-Low Emitting Formaldehyde (ULEF) or No Added Urea Formaldehyde (NAUF). Although not quite as healthy as NAF products, these options are still preferable to those that use standard formaldehyde-based resins.

Look for soy-based binders. Methylene diisocyanate (MDI) resins are a regrettable substitution for formaldehyde and can still be hazardous to workers (HomeFree).

Be mindful of finishes. Shellac, lacquer and polyurethane involve solvents, VOCs and isocyanates, which all pose health risks.

Protect floors with penetrating oils and hard wax finishes, which avoid solvents and allow for spot repairs. Review the ingredient list to ensure that you’re using a product without metallic dryers. A matte floor shows fewer scratches and looks fresh longer.

Choose an installation method that minimizes adhesives, a potential source of toxic chemicals and off-gassing. Instead of tongue and groove installation, which relies on more adhesives, consider using click-lock flooring.

Updated May 17, 2017
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