Description/Application

  • Particle board is a composite wood product. Wood is chipped into a fiber and then compressed with resin. Particle boards are popular for their lightweight and flat qualities. Particle board does not have a grain so it does not warp like other woods. Furniture, models, and sculpture are typical utilizations.1

Resources

  • Wood is harvested differently across the globe. American wood needs are commonly fulfilled with the native species douglas fir. Douglas fir foresting industry is located predominantly in the Pacific Northwest.2  The resin used varies, but amino-formaldehyde is most common.3

Environment

  • Watershed damage is caused by runoff water from loose soil that is constantly disrupted when harvesting trees. Also, tree plantations are large areas of one species of tree causes a biodiversity crisis and negatively impacts animal life. Additionally, forest fires are common when trees are grown in a tight grid. 5

Human Health

  • Wood dust is considered a carcinogen, which effects . Most resins are considered an irritant, which increases immune sensitivities and allergan reaction.6

Social Equity        

  • American grown wood is a major employer and is responsible for both figuratively and physically building most cities and towns in the Pacific northwest. 7 Forestry jobs are labor intense and often dangerous, although machinery has replaced most tasks that used to be manual.7

Safe Use and Exposure

  • Particle board is safe to use; however, small fibers can cause irritation if exposed to mouth, eyes, or nose, wear proper protection while cutting or sanding.

Proper disposal

  • Particle board is difficult to dispose because of chemicals present in resins and the hazards they can cause in landfills. However, there are recycling centers that accept fiberboard. Usable particle board can also be donated to givetake.

Safe Alternatives

  • Standard wood is typically safer. If the flat lightweight quality is desired, non formaldehyde plywood, cardboard, or cork boards are a safer option.

Sources

 “Particle Board”, Composite Panel Associates, http://bit.ly/2gKrVnV

Growing and Harvesting Douglas-fir Poles, http://bit.ly/2fVFYWL

Amino-Formaldehyde Resins, http://bit.ly/2gpYdEa

 “Environmental Impacts of Logging”, Forests Monitor, http://bit.ly/2gYRgeu

 “Why Tree Plantations Are the Problem, Not the Solution”, Alternet, http://bit.ly/2gPA1s1

 “Occupational Exposure to Epoxy Resins”, OSHWiki, http://bit.ly/2gYZIu5

 “Seeing the Forest for the Trees: Placing Washington’s Forests in Historical Context”, Center for the Study of the Pacific Northwest, http://bit.ly/2gq2FCX

 “Agriculture, Forestry, & Fishing”, MyPLan, http://bit.ly/2gq2FCX