This simple, non-descript looking slice of “wood” between to layers of sustainable, renewable, low VOC cork is the bane of my existence. One of them.
I am very reactive to p-tert-Butylphenol Formaldehyde Resin, Formaldehyde-Releasing Preservatives (FRPS), and when the substance goes by any of these names:
This means when I buy new clothes, especially dark wash/black, I wash them repeatedly before my eczema and skin stop reacting. The reacting makes me itchy which makes me cranky and so forth.
Now that we are creating walls, ceiling, and floors in the Black Hole Van, I get to create a potentially low allergen world for me! I am learning about low VOC and formaldehyde-free construction materials.
With the cork sample picked up today at our local home improvement store, the cork sandwiches plywood aka particle board aka horrible things to put in a dark hot van. Cork is described as: “a natural product that’s waterproof, dust- and mold-resistant, warm and soft underfoot and a wonderful sound absorber” (1), and “Cork flooring has excellent thermal and acoustical properties. It’s beautiful, lightweight, warm to the touch, hypoallergenic, fire and insect resistant, moisture resistant, and maintains just like hardwood floors.” (2) (Formating by me.)
Dust and mold resistant for my dust mite and mold allergies? Yes, please!
Lightweight? Perfect for a van!
So why did one manufacturer slap it around problematic plywood and have it end up with a Phase 2 compliant for formaldehyde emissions for CARB #93120? For reference, since much of California is the perfect temp (my thoughts), CARB #93120 measures the emissions at 73 degrees. Black Hole Van lives in Las Vegas where the internal bits of a vehicle can bake cookies!
“California 93120 compliant for formaldehyde Phase 2″, which means that the level of formaldehyde evaporation at 73 degrees Fahrenheit is below or at accepted/legal level.
BTW – while California is known to be the strictest in the USA on emissions and chemical-human safety, the EU has more stringent standards. Meaning the sample with the plywood center would likely not be allowed at all. (Not a proven fact.)
Next in the process to find materials that I can live happily with is calling We Cork. https://www.wecork.com/products/
Notes on VOC:
Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are compounds that easily become vapors or gases. VOCs are released from burning fuel such as gasoline, wood, coal, or natural gas. – National Library of Medicine
Breathing VOCs can irritate the eyes, nose and throat, can cause difficulty breathing and nausea, and can damage the central nervous system as well as other organs. – American Lung Association