Formaldehyde testing of wood-based panels
Correlations between european and japanese test methods
As wood-based panels are possible sources of formaldehyde emission, during recent years a lot of work has been done in Europe to define analytical test methods in order to determine the potential formaldehyde emission or content of these materials. The new EN standard on building materials (EN 13896) seems to clarify definitively the situation in Europe where national regulations, establishments in some countries to limit the formaldehyde release of wood-based panels, were sometimes different from the classes defined by the European standards. Since 1st July 2003, in Japan, a new law has laid down precise requirements to avoid the so-called Sick Building Syndrome. In particular, it defined some specifications (test methods and limits) to prevent high formaldehyde concentration in living environment. As exports of semi-finished boards or finished products are dependent on the ability to compare the limits of the results of the European standards with those specified by Japanese law. This study represents a first approach to understanding this problem and offers some comparisons of the results of the European and Japanese tests obtained at CATAS, the leading Italian institute in the field of wood and furtinure testing and WKI, active as formaldehyde testing institute since 1975.