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
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.
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 .
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
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?
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.
If you're going to be dumb, you better be tough
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.
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
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
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... ;-)
| Malcolm Hoar "The more I practice, the luckier I get". |
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.
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.
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.
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
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