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Thread: Offgas mitigation

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Orem, Utah
    Posts
    935

    Offgas mitigation

    My wife and I have a problem. We have bought a couple sets of Muscle Rack shelving - the kind you knock together with a hammer and then just set the particle board shelves on.



    The problem is the formaldehyde (or whatever it is) in the particleboard. It gives my wife a headache, stomachache, sore throat, dizziness, trouble breathing, etc.

    Is there anything we can do to "lock the vapors in"? Perhaps some kind of paint or other hard-shell finish? Maybe some sort of contact paper?

    Barring that, what would be a good replacement for the 3/8" particleboard ... that would NOT have a similar problem with offgassing? Will plywood work?

  2. #2
    I don't see why any solvent/alcohol based sealing finish wouldn't stop the off vaporing. US manufactured Plywood does not contain tovins as some Offshore product. The Borg and such sell offshore products. Check to make sure it is USA produced such as Georga Pacific, etc.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    ABQ NM
    Posts
    30,015
    My first thought was shellac. As Bill said, just about any alcohol or solvent-based finish should do the trick.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Mountain Home, Arkansas
    Posts
    11,831
    Time is best cure. Set in a well ventilated area. I'll bet a week or less will be sufficient. I have never heard of this problem with particle board but it could just be the brand you got stuck with.
    "Folks is funny critters."

    Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the privilege to do so, too. ~Voltaire

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Orem, Utah
    Posts
    935
    While I wouldn't call it a "well-ventilated area", we did put a set of these boards in my 12' x 20' shed for 6 months. (Unfortunately, they were more or less stacked against each other as they leaned up against the wall.)

    Knowing that the boards from this type of shelving were "bad", we thought we would rotate the old boards for use on the new shelves, and set the new boards aside. We brought the old boards in from the shed and set them on edge (separately) in my wife's craft area for about half an hour to see if they were OK (before going to the trouble of assembling the shelving units). No go ... my wife must be pretty darn sensitive to this stuff.

    So now she's stuck in the middle of her craft room reorganization, with "unacceptable" shelves that she was heavily planning on. I may have to go the plywood route....

  6. #6
    Kerry,
    I'd go the ply route. Rather than spend a lot of time coating etc. It will cost more, but in the end it will be less headache - for you and her.

    FWIW,
    Wes

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Orem, Utah
    Posts
    935
    Yep - I think that's what I'll do.

    Thanks everybody!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Salt Spring Island, BC Canada
    Posts
    2,070
    Hi Kerry,

    This has been a problem in all homes for the past while as we seal up our homes to make them more energy efficiant we neglect all the chemical manufactured products that we put into our homes and k3/Partical board is one of the worst. I bet you might find that your counter tops and cabinets in the kitchen and bathroom are made of the same or similar material. Most of the store bought counters and cabinet materials are made of K3 / Partical board, though most of those are sealed up with some other materials like paint or Melamine. It will disipate to a lower level in time but in the mean time a quick fix is to seal it up with paints or similar materials and that will work. I personally would replace it with 5/8th ply wood or 3/4 solid wood shelving.

    Hope this helps
    Drew

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