Does OSB emit Volatile Organic Compounds?

Norbord Blog Feature: The Wood Whisperer



Does OSB emit any VOCs?”


When it comes to green building, you are right to be concerned about Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). Many building products contain harmful chemicals like formaldehyde which can be carcinogenic. When too many VOCs are off-gassed into your building, your indoor air quality can be poor enough to make you sick. Sick Building Syndrome (SBS) results from poor indoor air quality and can cause a wide range of symptoms including headaches, nausea, edema, allergies and asthma to name a few.

The formaldehyde resins  used in building materials come in two forms:  urea-formaldehyde (UF) and phenol-formaldehyde (PF).

  • UF is a highly toxic form and homeowners and builders should avoid using building products that contain this in parts of the home where they can affect the indoor air quality.
  • PF is more water resistant and therefore more stable than UF. This means it releases gas very slowly and at very low levels. Building materials constructed with PF are not considered hazardous.

OSB is made from materials that off-gas in the mill, so they won’t significantly reduce the quality of your indoor air.

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