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DIY Tip: You Should Always Wear A Face Mask When Cutting Or Sanding

If you are working with materials such as chipboard, particleboard, MDF or SupaWood, you need to wear a mask for your own safety.





There are still a lot of DIY enthusiasts out there that are unaware of the danger involved when you are working with chipboard, particleboard or MDF. Not only these board products specifically but also the danger of breathing in fine dust particles of timber and board products.








In first world countries, board products such as chipboard, particleboard and MDF are manufactured according to strict regulations governing the industry. In the past, the aforementioned products, when manufactured or imported into a first world country, were on the verge of being banned due to their high content of urea-formaldehyde - a component used in the compressing process and one found to cause numerous health ailments. Since then, first world countries have adopted a practice of manufacturing these products either without using urea-formaldehyde or in a concentration that is not considered harmful or hazardous.

That's all fine and well, but South Africa is not a first world country, and most board products are imported from countries that do not follow European or US guidelines, which means these products cannot be guaranteed as safe or within safe limits as concerns the use of urea-formaldehyde.



According to health experts, the harmful effects occur when products containing urea-formaldehyde release this into the air. While there may be no detrimental health effects when air concentrations are below 1.0ppm, the onset of respiratory irritation and other harmful effects, including increased cancer risk, begin when air concentrations exceed 3.0–5.0ppm. The higher concentration triggers a burning sensation in the eyes and nasal cavity, coughing, skin rash and nausea.


Under normal circumstances, when board products remain in their original state, the process of gassing-off occurs, where a significant amount of VOCs are released into the environment. However, when purchased by a DIY enthusiast and used to make items or for projects, the products are cut or sanded, which then releases a high volume of VOCs into the surrounding environment.


Wearing a face or dust mask protects your nasal passages and lungs from the harmful effects of fine sawdust and also limits your chance of inhaling VOCs.




Manufactured locally according to EU guidelines, both PG Bisonbord (chipboard or particleboard product) and SupaWood conform to European regulations as concerns the manufacture of board products and the amount of formaldehyde used in the resin. Click here for a data sheet on SupaWood. Any product not manufactured locally or that does not comply with EU or US standards is not safe for use. When purchasing your product at Builders or any other hardware store or timber merchant, ensure that PG products are supplied - for your own health and safety.

Another reason for choosing to use only PG Bisonbord or PG SupaWood is quality. Other products are inferior when it comes down to quality and you may end up with a project fail due to several reasons including, boards that warp over time, swelling of fibres when painting boards and insufficient compression that may cause fastenings to fail.





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