The Glue Talk Blog

Woods with sun reflecting between the trees.

Take a deep breath…

Posted 06 Feb 2019 by Johannes Christiani, Business Development Manager, Woodworking EIMEA

Today's focus on energy efficiency may increase the risks of chemicals accumulating to potentially dangerous levels in the air we breathe indoors. And, the risks are even greater in northern Europe and cooler regions where windows tend to be shut, hindering ventilation.

As understanding of the risks of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) to health grows, so too does regulation. In recent years, for example, formaldehyde has been reclassified by the EU as a Carcinogen Category 1B, according to the European Regulation 1272/2008/EC (CLP). Formaldehyde is also a category 1 skin sensitizer under EU regulations (Regulation No 605/2014).

Some people react so badly to VOCs and other allergens that they need to create hypo-allergenic homes to avoid hospitalisation. Others are using plants like peace lilies and aloes to help purify the air they breathe inside.

Wood naturally emits VOCs, including formaldehyde

VOCs are emitted by a range of products used in the home, including paint, cleaning products and wooden furniture and flooring. Wood naturally contains and emits VOCs, including formaldehyde. For example, natural oak wood formaldehyde content is 0.009 ppm in fresh wood and 0.004 ppm in dried wood. This may not sound like a lot, but in environments with a lot of new wooden furniture and flooring, such as schools, offices and hospitals, formaldehyde emissions can accumulate to create a toxic air environment. Children’s wooden toys, kitchen cabinets, parquet flooring, chairs, tables, and the panels in mobile homes can all emit formaldehyde.

While adhesives may not emit large amounts of formaldehyde alone, any emission contributes to the overall level of formaldehyde in the air that we breathe, particularly in places where we spend significant amounts of time, including the office or bedroom.

The new Rakoll® 4933

In light of these growing concerns about formaldehyde, we have developed a formaldehyde-free adhesive. It’s not often that you can improve on nature, but when you use our new water-based adhesive, Rakoll® 4933, you’re doing exactly that. So, when you use Rakoll® 4933 for typical applications, the final product has lower formaldehyde levels than that emitted by an oak tree growing naturally in a forest!

Connecting manufacturers with more sustainable optionsHand by the grass holding a butterfly.

Use of a formaldehyde-free adhesive strengthens manufacturers’ ability to obtain low hazard certificates for their finished goods and, increasingly, this could offer competitive advantage, particularly for those supplying furniture to health-conscious environments, such as schools and hospitals.

At H.B. Fuller, we’re pleased to be able to improve the sustainability of our  product offering in this way. And as you’d expect, we’ve made sure the new Rakoll®4933 offers all the other benefits that customers expect from our Rakoll® range – high initial strength, fast setting times, medium pH causing less machine corrosion, and low VOC emissions.

… and breathe out and relax. Contact us to find out how our Rakoll woodworking adhesives can improve your product performance.

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