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APA Plywood in Lowest Formaldehyde Release Class

All trees and wood products emit small amounts of formaldehyde.  An oak tree, for example, emits 0.009 parts per million (ppm) of formaldehyde.  Any wood cut from that oak tree will also contain small amounts of formaldehyde.

The adhesive used to manufacture US trademarked plywood is phenol formaldehyde (phenolic)  which does not release significant amounts of formaldehyde.

Under the harmonised European Standard for wood-based panels, EN 13986, Annex B, ‘wood-based panels glued with resins emitting either no formaldehyde or negligible amounts of formaldehyde after production as e.g. isocyanate or phenolic glue’ are to be classified as E1 (the lowest formaldehyde release class) without further testing.

APA plywood will be designated under the lowest E1 category for formaldehyde release without needing further testing.  APA’s US PS 1 and PS 2 plywood have been tested to EN 717-1 and formaldehyde levels already meet the requirements for the E1 classification limit

On finished US trademarked plywood panels, independent tests confirm that formaldehyde emission levels rapidly approach zero as the panels age.

All available scientific data indicates that the maximum formaldehyde level associated with phenolic bonded wood panel products is about the same as background levels present in outdoor air in an urban environment.

See also: Japanese Agricultural Standard (JAS) for Formaldehyde Emission. California Air Resource Board (CARB): measures on formaldehyde release.

Stability of

Phenolic glue is manufactured from resins consisting of phenol formaldehyde polymers by reacting together measured amounts of phenol and formaldehyde under carefully controlled conditions.  These polymers consist of ‘chains’ of phenol and formaldehyde which are chemically linked together to form polymer molecules.  These molecules possess physical and chemical properties which are completely distinct from the properties of either phenol or formaldehyde i.e. these polymers are new chemical entities and not simply mixtures of phenol and formaldehyde.

Once formed, the phenolic polymers are extremely stable and do not break down into their original phenol and formaldehyde molecules.  It is this stability which prevents the release of formaldehyde from panels containing this type of water proof adhesive.

Confusion over the different types of formaldehyde adhesive in use has led to concern over the possible release of formaldehyde from wood products and the possible effect on health. Formaldehyde-related problems have been associated with urea  formaldehyde adhesives, commonly used in the manufacture of interior plywood.


APA in Europe Wizard

All Questions OSBPlywood

What is a ‘life cycle stage’ and how do these link to the environmental assessment of whole buildings?

How do core category rules link with environmental product declarations?

Whose responsibility is it to check that wood products being imported into the EU do not originate from illegally sourced timber supplies?

Does the EUTR require mills to provide any extra documentation for customs entry into the European Union?

Must all plywood and OSB panels carry a CE marking?

What is the definition of a construction product under the CPR?

What is a Declaration of Performance referred to under the Construction Products Regulation?

What is the difference between Structural 1 and Exposure 1?

Does structural panel siding have shear values?

What are mould and mildew, and do they compromise the integrity of engineered wood?

The CE-mark on an APA plywood panel means it conforms to European Standards – but which ones?

I want to use a Rated Sheathing panel for flooring/ roofing application, what info do I need to know?

Plywood: Span rating
OSB: Span rating

What extra strength benefits do Structural 1 OSB panels provide over standard Rated Sheathing panels?

Do APA panels give off formaldehyde?

Plywood: Formaldehyde
OSB: Formaldehyde

What is the difference between a touch-sanded panel and sanded panel?

I’d like to know how APA veneer grades match those given in the European standards

How do I correctly gauge the face appearance a plywood Siding panel?

I want to specify an APA panel for concrete formwork – what do I need to know?

Are APA panels tongue and grooved on all four edges?

I am not familiar with the term ‘Sized for Spacing’ – what is its significance?

How are Performance Category and thickness related?

I’d like to know more about a panel’s Span Rating and how it links to thickness.

Plywood: Span rating
OSB: Span rating

What is Span Rating on the APA trademark and why is it important?

Plywood: Span rating
OSB: Span rating

What is the difference between Exposure 1 and Exterior plywood panels? What are their appropriate uses?

What are the main OSB panels likely to be available in Europe?

What are the main plywood panels likely to be available in Europe?

What are the main European standards that I would need to be aware of for OSB panels?

The main standards are: EN 13986 and EN 300

What are the main European standards that I would need to be aware of for plywood panels?

The main standards are: EN 13986, EN 636, EN 314, EN 635-3