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Carpentry & Joinery

Is mdf really poisonous?

I've heard that MDF is poisonous and might contain formaldehyde --is this true?

I want to build shelves in my closet. Should I buy MDF or real wood? Or something else?...

6 Answers from MyBuilder Carpenters & Joiners

Best Answer

MDF is looking like it is taking over as the material of choice for the timber traders. I am aware that MDF contains formaldehyde which is released when it is being cut so if you are cutting it, do it outside and if you have goggles and a mask, wear them. The symptoms of exposure are irritation and sore eyes, irritated and sore throat and breathing issues. As far as I can see it is safe otherwise, when not being worked and when it is glued onto a wall and painted. Do not despair, Lots of building materials are to varying degrees, dangerous but there are control measures for anything you use. Always read labels and do research before using any hazardous substances before, rather than after using. Or hire someone who has all of the relevant knowledge of safe working practices.


Answered 4th Jul 2019

I must have sawn what amounts to half of epping forest in my career, I always wear a dusk mask with no ill effects. I cant think cutting a few shelves will harm anyone.


Answered 6th Jul 2019

Not good to breath in when cutting, it can be painted after to seal it though


Answered 4th Jul 2019

Yes completely true, its the new asbestos apparently, only becomes a problem with moisture absorption but if up kept with a sealing paint it should be fine 😬


Answered 4th Jul 2019

Yes this is true,but as long as care is taken when cutting and sanding like use a mask and dust extractor on power tools it is fine once in your house and sealed with paint or varnish is completely safe.


Answered 6th Jul 2019

ALL dust is bad for you, get a PPF3 rated mask, make sure it fits you properly and cut outside if your paranoid about being safe. Of course there's more to it than that as you should be fitted with it by a mask fitting expert who can test that nothings getting through it. Of course if you have stubble or a beard no mask will work as the dust that's harmful is 200 times smaller than a human hair. You could get a full hood but most tradesmen choose to be ignorant to all these facts and wouldn't wear the appropriate gear as it's inconvenient. It's your lungs you choose what level of protection you wish to use.


Answered 7th Jul 2019

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