PureBond: Formaldehyde-Free Hardwood Plywood

Columbia Forest Products

Indoor air quality is a serious concern, no thanks to many of the building materials and furnishings we bring into our home and their polluting chemicals, one of which is formaldehyde. The Environmental Protection Agency states that the air quality within homes can be more polluted than the outdoor air even in the largest and most industrialized cities.* Scary! So, whether you're building from scratch, remodeling, or just just keeping tabs on green building materials for some point in the future, you'll want to bookmark PureBond. It uses a non-toxic soy-based adhesive instead of the traditional urea formaldehyde typically used in hardwood plywood manufacturing, and the special adhesive was inspired by mussels!

In addition to be being formaldehyde-free and nontoxic, you can also choose plywood panels that have been certified by the Forest Stewardship Council. Columbia Forest employs a team of professional foresters who work with landowners to develop responsible timber plans. The scrap from their mills is recycled for fuel or sold as mulch. PureBond panels can also add points to your LEED green building certification.

Regarding cost, PureBond is remarkably competitive with standard formaldehyde construction hardwood plywood. It's also more water resistant than its traditional counterpart.

Here's how the adhesive was made, from Specialty Wood Journal:

The PureBond formula is a protein system which counts food-grade soy flour as the primary ingredient. This formula was invented by Dr. Kaichang Li, PH.D., of Oregon State University in the course of studies of various proteins marine mussels secreted to attach themselves to rocks and other dirty, wet and irregular surfaces. His work led to the identification of a pre-existing wet strength resin used in the manufacture of paper towels, frozen food packaging and paper currency. This proprietary resin from Hercules combined with the soy flour creates a cross linked molecular matrix that gives plywood, and composites made with it, superior strength and water-resistance.

Check out more about PureBond at Columbia Forest's website, and breathe easier!

*See The Inside Story: A Guide to Indoor Air Quality
U.S. EPA/Office of Air and Radiation
Office of Radiation and Indoor Air (6609J)
Cosponsored with the Consumer Product Safety Commission

Kitchen photo above via Sprig