What to know be­fore ren­o­vat­ing

Sherbrooke Record - - BROME COUNTY -

Whether it’s a DIY project or one you hire a pro for, a home up­grade can add beauty and com­fort to your liv­ing spa­ces. But be­fore you start, know that some fur­ni­ture and build­ing ma­te­ri­als made from com­pos­ite wood may be a source of formalde­hyde.

Formalde­hyde is a colour­less gas com­monly found in in­door air. It can come from to­bacco smoke, wood smoke and cook­ing. It also comes from com­pos­ite wood, man­u­fac­tured by com­bin­ing wood fi­bres and ad­he­sives to make cab­i­nets, coun­ter­tops, floor­ing, mould­ings and fur­ni­ture.

Ex­po­sure to the sub­stance over a longer pe­riod is linked to breath­ing prob­lems and in­creased al­ler­gic sen­si­tiv­ity, es­pe­cially in chil­dren. At high lev­els, it has also been linked to can­cer of the nasal pas­sage­ways.

In 2010, Cal­i­for­nia de­vel­oped reg­u­la­tions to re­duce formalde­hyde com­ing from com­pos­ite wood prod­ucts. The U.S. then ex­panded on the Cal­i­for­nia reg­u­la­tions to cre­ate a na­tional reg­u­la­tion.

In 2016, the Cana­dian Stan­dards As­so­ci­a­tion (CSA) de­vel­oped a vol­un­tary stan­dard on formalde­hyde emis­sions for com­pos­ite wood prod­ucts man­u­fac­tured in Canada. Its emis­sion lim­its are har­mo­nized with the Cal­i­for­nia reg­u­la­tions.

Health Canada is de­vel­op­ing reg­u­la­tions that will also tar­get com­pos­ite wood prod­ucts. These new reg­u­la­tions should come into force in 2019. Un­til that hap­pens, you can limit your po­ten­tial ex­po­sure with these tips:

Un­der­stand what you’re buy­ing. Does it con­tain a com­pos­ite wood prod­uct? If it does, is there a la­bel on it that states it com­plies with the Cal­i­for­nia Air Re­sources Board (CARB) or the CSA stan­dard? Look for la­bels that have state­ments like Cal­i­for­nia 93120 Phase 2 Com­pli­ant for Formalde­hyde, Cer­ti­fied to CAN/CSA-O160, Com­plies with CAN/CSA-O160, and Prod­uct in com­pli­ance with TSCA Ti­tle VI. If you’re not sure, don’t be afraid to ask the ven­dor.

Keep emis­sions from com­pos­ite wood prod­ucts low. Buy items—par­tic­u­larly with the CARB or CSA stan­dard—that are low-emit­ting or have a plas­tic lam­i­nate or coat­ing on all sides, or seal these items your­self at home in­stead.

Limit ex­po­sure from house­hold and build­ing prod­ucts. If avail­able, choose no or low-formalde­hyde for­mu­la­tions. Ask re­tail­ers or man­u­fac­tur­ers for de­tails.

En­sure plenty of ven­ti­la­tion. This is es­sen­tial when you do any ren­o­va­tions, par­tic­u­larly for painting or var­nish­ing projects and when in­stalling any floor­ing us­ing glues or ad­he­sives. (www.news­canada.com)

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