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Renovation Wiki

What is Formaldehyde?

Formaldehyde, with the chemical formula HCHO, is a naturally occurring organic compound. It is a colorless, odorless, and irritant air pollutant. Formaldehyde can cause irritation to the respiratory system, eyes, and skin. In the short term, exposure to formaldehyde may lead to symptoms like tearing, sneezing, and skin allergies. At higher concentrations, it can cause vomiting, nausea, chest tightness, coughing, asthma, and even pulmonary edema, potentially resulting in death.

Uses of Formaldehyde

Preservative in Paints and Coatings

Formaldehyde is used as a preservative in paint and coating formulations to prevent spoilage.

  • Synthetic Resin Production It is a key component in the production of synthetic resins, such as urea-formaldehyde and phenol-formaldehyde resins, which have various applications.

  • Manufacturing Synthetic Fiber Formaldehyde is used as a raw material in the production of synthetic fibers, including nylon and polyester.

  • Binder in Composite Wood Products It is utilized as a binder in the production of composite wood products, such as particleboard, plywood, and fiberboard.

Elevated formaldehyde levels in indoor environments often result from new furniture and paint used in home renovations. When ordering custom-made furniture, homeowners can opt for materials that are labeled as having low or zero formaldehyde content. For example, E0/E1 ecological boards are known for their reduced formaldehyde emissions. E0 boards have an extremely low formaldehyde content, almost negligible, and are considered less harmful. However, formaldehyde can serve as both a bonding agent and a moisture-resistant component in building materials, making it essential for durability in areas like kitchens and bathrooms. E1 boards, which meet safety standards for formaldehyde levels, offer a balanced compromise.

Custom-Made Furniture in Hong Kong Renovations

In Hong Kong, custom-made furniture for renovation projects often utilizes ecological boards, also known as anti-flower boards. These boards come with a built-in veneer, ensuring a consistent appearance on both sides.

Safety Standards for Ecological Boards

E0/E1 refers to the International Composite Board Emission Standards (ICBES) and represents international safety standards concerning formaldehyde content. E0 boards must have formaldehyde levels of less than 0.5 milligrams per liter, while E1 boards must have levels of less than 1.5 milligrams per liter. Therefore, E0 is considered safer and more environmentally friendly compared to E1, but it is usually more expensive due to its higher safety and environmental standards.


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