Ask G

Ask G: Low formaldehyde kitchen

Can I renovate my kitchen to be formaldehyde-free?

We are in the process of renovating our kitchen and want to put in a formaldehyde-free kitchen, with the most likely option marine plywood carcasses and solid timber doors. The solid timber doors are easy to get from most places, but I am struggling to find a supplier who does plywood kitchen carcasses in Adelaide. If you have any contacts or know of any places it would be much appreciated.
- Jordan, via email


Credit: iStockphoto

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Formaldehyde is a colourless gas with a pungent odour. It is an irritant and has been confirmed as a human carcinogen.

You’ll probably have a better chance of getting what you want by talking to some cabinet makers and kitchen carcass suppliers and asking them to source materials that are ‘low formaldehyde’ or have ‘no added formaldehyde’ (wood has naturally occurring formaldehyde, so strictly speaking ‘formaldehyde-free’ isn’t quite correct). You might need to have your kitchen components made to order.

Engineered wood products can be tested and assigned to a formaldehyde emission class, as per the table below (scroll down).

Ask for E0 class panels. Austral Plywoods ( and Amerind ( have E0 products in their range. The Laminex Greenfirst range includes E0 products, some of which have achieved Good Environmental Choice certification and GreenTag certification. Both of these independent eco-certification programs include indoor air quality issues in their criteria.

Emission class Formaldehyde emission limit (mg/1)
E0 Less than or equal to 0.5
E1 Less than or equal to 1.0
E2 Less than or equal to 2.0
E3 Greater than 2.0