• Report

Sources and factors affecting indoor emissions from engineered wood products: Summary and evaluation of current literature


Turner, S., Martin, C., Hetes, R., & Northeim, C. (1996). Sources and factors affecting indoor emissions from engineered wood products: Summary and evaluation of current literature. (EPA/600/SR-96/067; No. EPA/600/SR-96/067). Research Triangle Park, NC: U. S. Environmental Protection Agency.


Composite wood products such as furniture, cabinets, and building materials may emit a variety of organic pollutants into the indoor air environment. The sources of these emissions include wood fibers and resins used to manufacture the composite wood, adhesives used to attach veneers and laminates to wood substrates, and coatings and other types of surface finishes.

Traditional approaches for maintaining acceptable indoor air quality (IAQ) have focused on control strategies such as increased or improved ventilation. Research Triangle Institute (RTI), working in cooperation with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) Office of Research and Development (ORD), is conducting research to identify and demonstrate pollution prevention approaches that can reduce indoor air pollution from composite wood products.

During this research, RTI gathered information about manufacturing processes for composite wood products, emissions from these products into the indoor air environment, and pollution prevention approaches to reduce those emissions. During subsequent research, samples from several composite wood products were acquired and placed in bell jars to obtain air samples and to determine the identity and quantity of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) emitted from the samples. Also, RTI measured the emissions decay as a function of time for kitchen cabinet doors. During a subsequent phase of research, RTI tested product samples taken from different manufacturing stages to determine relative contributions of various materials used in product manufacture (e.g., raw composite board, veneer, glue, wet finishes).

Based on this testing, RTI is currently developing plans to evaluate VOC
emissions from both conventional acid catalyzed conversion varnish coatings as well as a variety of new products currently being marketed in response to recent EPA regulations. This research is currently planned to be completed in the fall of 1996.