Question

We are looking for formaldehyde-free cabinets. Any dealers/stores in Atlanta?

Asked by lily
Atlanta, GA

We need cabinets for bathrooms and kitchen.

Answer

Molly McCabe, AKBD, CGP, CAPS

Answered by Molly McCabe, AKBD, CGP, CAPS

Bainbridge Island, WA

A Kitchen That Works LLC

October 13, 2010

Dear Lily,

I am going to assume that you are looking for “no-added” formaldehyde cabinets.

  • Formaldehyde is a natural element that is found in all wood products, therefore I will assume that what you are concerned about is "added urea-formaldehyde" in both wood products and adhesives used in the construction of residential cabinetry.
  • The only truly formaldehyde-free cabinetry on the market is solid stainless steel cabinetry -- I think it is safe to assume that you are not interested in this type of cabinetry for your bathroom and kitchen.

Please refer to these two archived Q&As on Green Home Guide to get a good baseline of information to start with:

The CARB formaldehyde standard

Earlier in 2010, the U.S. Congress passed the Formaldehyde Standards for Composite Wood Products Act. The Act includes many components of the California Air Resource Board’s (CARB) formaldehyde standard (which began to take effect in January 2009) and covers the emissions of formaldehyde resins used in the manufacture of particleboard, MDF and hardwood plywood -- products commonly used in the manufacture of cabinets, furniture, closet systems, etc. 

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is currently developing testing and compliance provisions for the standard that will be implemented on a national level beginning in mid-2011.

Due to the purchasing power of the California state economy, many manufacturers of wood products and finished goods containing wood products are already CARB formaldehyde standard compliant. You can find a comprehensive list of cabinet manufacturers on the Kitchen Cabinet Manufacture Association's Environmental Stewardship Program website.

  • A cursory review of this list will not reveal an Atlanta-based manufacturer, but you can go to the individual company websites to search for retail dealers in your area.
  • To reduce the carbon footprint of your purchase, consider purchasing from manufacturers that are as close to you geographically as possible.

Cabinet manufacturers in the Atlanta area

I discovered two custom cabinet manufacturers in the Atlanta area that each manufacture their own line of no-added-formaldehyde green cabinets.

  • The Signature Collection from Bell Cabinets in Alpharetta, GA, is constructed of no-added-formaldehyde components from Columbia Forest Products along with catalytic glues which also do not include any added formaldehyde. The finish is a catalytic lacquer or a conversion varnish which are not classified as low-emission finishes but are very durable.
  • Berkeley Woodworking, Inc., in Norcross, GA, has a decorative laminate veneer line called Ecobella which is comprised of no-added-formaldehyde components and adhesives, including a thermally fused melamine cabinet interior. Berkeley Woodworking also produces a complete custom cabinet whereby the customer can specify no-added-formaldehyde cabinet components and adhesives as well as FSC (Forest Stewardship Council certified) door/drawer fronts, drawer boxes and carcasses.
     

For more information:

Read Green Home Guide's remodel guide "Creating a Green Kitchen: From Resource Planning to Maintenance" for more information on renovating a kitchen.

Tagged In: home air quality, formaldehyde plywood, cabinets

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