Particle Board Woes

I find that after I visit big stores that have lots of dusty particle board, plywood and MDF stacked around that I have a shortness of breath for a while afterward. This is true to some degree even if I don't go near the wood (as the formaldehyde-laden dust is most likely being ventilated throughout the store). I have recently reluctantly had to facethe fact that I simply don't belong in those stores. I recently came home from a woodworkers show with the same reaction. :( Does anyone else here have this problem?
Admittedly, I have other chemical sensitivities, but I think that there still may be an "air-quality" issue here. Employees spending hours and hours in (what I consider) sub-quality air must be compromising their health in some ways...probably unbeknownst to many of them.
I suppose, If I've made anyone think critically about air quality issues like this I'll feel like I have contributed something. I suppose this this issue is far down the list in the world's priorities... Comments welcome of course.
Bill
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sounds like you need to spend money on environmentally friendly stuff. it is only a little more for formaldehyde free products. well worth the cost.
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Yes, I'm already onto that. It just disappoints me that I can't enjoy shopping at stores like Home Depot and that I have to be concerned about attending woodworking shows. Fortunatelly there are quite a few alternative ways to get materials and to learn new things.
-Bill
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the borgs are crappy places to shop anyway.
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You can not absolutely eliminate formaldehyde . Because formaldehyde is common in both man-made products and the natural products . Formaldehyde exist in clothing, wood itself, apple, vegetable and so on . More formaldehyde will be harmful . What we should do is to limit formaldehyde within a unharmful degree .
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Bill wrote:

Would hardly think that the source of the dust is the particle board, but is dust that has settled onto the particle board from other sources. Would be very surprised if the dust itself has *any* urea-formaldehyde content at all. Now, in those stores, if it is new particle board, there is certainly the possibility that the material is still out-gassing. But that is entireley different than assigning the blame to dust.
--
If you're going to be dumb, you better be tough

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I agree.
It seems that there are many possible items that could be contributing to the problem that it is overly simplistic to assign blame to "formaldehyde-laden dust."
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I sanded some particle board by hand and got a very bad reaction. I assume it's the "dust". If I spend some time in Home Depot or Mennards I end up with some shortness of breath. Ace Hardware, Sears, Kmart, Harbor Freight---no problems. Knowing this, would you still not blame the dust?
-Bill
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Bill wrote:

When you sanded the particle board, you were generating particle board dust and also exposing layers that may not have fully out-gassed. When you visit a retail store that sells PB, the dust you see on the PB is very unlikely to be PB dust. However, the PB in those establishments is relatively new and probably still out-gassing. If you are truly sensitive to Urea-formaldehyde, it is most likely the out-gassing from the new materials that is bothering you.
--
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What difference does it make if the source is the out-gassing of Urea-formaldehyde or dust laced with Urea-formaldehyde? The former sounds like even more of a problem as it sounds more difficult to get rid of. Either way, the chemical seems to have been recognized as being not good for people (particularly people like me). When I described the situtation in the first place, I was curious as to how many others shared the problem. Even if one doesn't have an immediate problem with the stuff, I think one is well-advised to be aware of it's presence and to minimize contact with it. Breathing it everyday seems like a recipe for bad news.
-Bill
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No, I did not prove that urea-formaldehyde is benign. It probably isn't with continuous exposure to high doses. But with more normal exposure, it's likely fairly benign. If it was highly toxic, carcinogenic or whatever, some clues would likely have emerged by now.
Yes, these things can be frustrating. My wife suffers from year round allergies and we still have absolutely no idea what allergen is triggering them and hence no opportunity to avoid exposure to same.
In your case, at least you know the allergen is present in big box stores and have the opportunity to avoid them even if that is inconvenient.
Over the past few years we have learned about the risks associated with exposure to substances like lead in paint, asbestos and more. This is a Good Thing. Having said that, let's keep those risks in perspective. The ladder or power tool you bought in Home Depot is far more likely to kill you than the urea-formaldehyde in the particle board. I don't even want to think about the relative risk of getting into a motor vehicle and driving to the big box store... ;-)
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Bill wrote:

Most of the dust you see in a Home Depot comes from the concrete floor, not the lumber. So perhaps it's concrete that you're having trouble with? Sears, K-Mart, and Ace Hardware all put some kind of flooring on top of the concrete--never been in a Harbor Freight so don't know what they do.
Rather than guessing, you really should if this is of serious concern to you see an allergist.
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Bill wrote:

Certainly the dust is suspect. Visit an allergist to find the EXACT cause. It may be you're allergic to the dried pigeon shit from birds that get trapped in the large stores. Or maybe it's a nervous reaction to all the goodies in sight.
You won't know for sure 'til you get tested.
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Actually, I visited an allergist regarding a related matter (Monsodium-Glutamate (MSG) and some of it's cousins). He suggested there was little sense in administering a battery of tests to determine what I basically already know (what to stay away from). That is $360 worth of medical guidance which I am providing to you for free (without warrantee). I know well enough, because I can validate it with a number of other substances, that the problem with the particle board is the presence of formalehyde. To me, it doesn't matter whether it's the dust or the emitted gases. I won't be cutting the stuff.
Peace, Bill
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Bill wrote:

Okay. As long as you recognize you're the defective human and don't try to legislate your malady prevention on normal folk.
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I don't look at myself as a defective human, but as a more sensitive one. In fact, from your reply I can see that my sensitivity extends in directions that haven't even occurred to you. Being "normal" is relative. Ten years ago, by the definition you are using, I would have been "normal". Will you not consider yourself normal anymore if you come down with repiratory problems?
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