The FCBA Technical Institute has carried out life cycle assessments (LCA) of six different types of plywood (each intended for a specific use) :
- Okoume plywood cladding, bonded with phenolic resin adhesive
- Okoume/poplar plywood roof substrate, bonded with MUF resin
- Okoume/poplar plywood wall panels, bonded with phenolic resin
- Poplar plywood wall panels, bonded with UF resin
- Maritime pine plywood bracing elements, bonded with phenolic resin
- Maritime pine plywood flooring, bonded with phenolic resin
The results of these studies have led to the publication of environmental and sanitary data sheets (FDES), in accordance with standard NF P01-010 for construction products. These FDES sheets can be viewed and downloaded from the INIES database. They are also available from this website.
The vast majority of plywood panels made in France are bonded using phenolic resins. Once polymerisation is completed and the plywood has been pressed, formaldehyde emissions are minute. So insignificant are these emissions that plywood manufactured using this type of glue is exempt from checks and measurements.Emission levels are guaranteed to be less than 0.1 ppm, the threshold for class E1.
Plywood panels in this class are authorised for interior use and may be left uncovered, without there being a risk of exposure to formaldehyde for the fitter or the building’s end user.
VOC emissions and sanitary labelling
Organic compounds are naturally present in wood (especially softwood) and may be released by wood and wood-based panels, although the quantities involved are extremely small. This is particularly true for plywood, given that it is hot-glued (at around 160°C) during the pressing stage, which favours the elimination of these volatile organic compounds.
French plywood manufacturers, like producers of most other construction materials, are required to label their products with regard to air pollutant emissions. The vast majority of standard plywoods made by French firms carry the class A or A+ label, which attests to their very low total VOC emissions (i.e., emissions of all volatile organic compounds, including formaldehyde).