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Plywood and the formaldehyde problem

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by kiwiegg, Oct 23, 2010.

  1. kiwiegg

    kiwiegg Songster

    Jul 7, 2009
    I built a bed for my son last year and discovered before building how BAD plywood is for our health. I'm not a nut job but apparently plywood found in our homes (and coops) continues to off-gas formaldehyde for years. So... if we are really trying to keep happy healthy organic chooks should we be enclosing them in plywood? (painting does not help) Like I said, I'm not a nut job but I'm thinking of using an alternative material for my coop walls and wonder if people have ideas. Home depot sell formaldehyde-free plywood (Columbia forest products make it) and although I used it for my sons bed it is prohibitively expensive.

  2. knjinnm

    knjinnm Songster

    Oct 5, 2010
    Sandia Park, NM
    If your coop is well ventilated the fumes should not be a problem. [​IMG]
  3. Rivers

    Rivers In the Brooder

    Oct 3, 2010
    Theres PCB's and endocrine disrupting materials all round us in our homes and sometimes in our foods too.

    All modern furniture/upholstery has to be flame retardant, what do you think they do it with? These very same chemicals in our bed matresses and pillows have even contaminated the worlds seas. So much so that matress chemicals can be found in wild polar bears.

    Generations of people grew up in houses (and toys) painted with lead. Asbestos in their homes and schools, DDT in the air around their homes, soil and food.

    All of us who live in busy cities breathe in Plenty of:
    # Carbon monoxide
    # Nitrogen dioxide
    # Sulphur dioxide
    # Benzene
    # Formaldehyde
    # Polycyclic hydrocarbons
    # Lead

    Daily. Those who smoke take in larger amounts of similar stuff intentionally.

    Basically, I wouldnt really worry about it. Im a newbie to poultry, but can see that the majority of small scale poultry housing is made of chemically treated softwood. These chemicals dont make us ill very easily and we are boxed up in cars, beds, offices and such for most of our time. Unlike the chickens which will have ample ventillation at night and be outdoors all day everyday.
  4. We tend to have plywood on hand and we store it in a roofed utility area under our deck to deal with outgassing. And if you go to the hardware store and they have older materials, ask for a discount and buy those! It might be a little gray.
  5. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    I do not personally see anything whatsoever to worry about. A) it is not clear how much this actually affects *people* let alone chickens, B) unlike people, chickens do not live all *that* long so long-term effects are especially a nonissue; and most of all C) your coop should be very well ventilated and thus bears little if any comparison with a modern house.

    Have good ventilation, and quit worryin', would be my advice [​IMG]

    If you are determined to worry, then obviously you know what your options are, you just have to decide what it's worth to you financially.

    Good luck, have fun,

  6. elmo

    elmo Songster

    May 23, 2009
    Exterior grade plywood offgasses much less than interior products:


    Your family probably will have far more exposure in your home than your chickens will get in their coop.
  7. WoodlandWoman

    WoodlandWoman Crowing

    May 8, 2007
    Plywood isn't nearly as bad as other materials and sealing the wood does prevent off-gassing. You just need to seal the inside, as well as painting the outside for weather protection. Give the paint and/or sealer time to cure before putting chickens inside. Paint and sealer fumes can be worse than the wood, depending on what you use. The coop is also in the outdoors and should have very good ventilation, no matter what it's constructed from. This is totally different from the problem inside our houses, where air flow is very limited and furniture is not sealed on all surfaces.

  8. kiwiegg

    kiwiegg Songster

    Jul 7, 2009
    It's pretty sad isn't it! Chooks will be fine, but kids?? Well, it's not as if I am going to tear down all the walls in the house but talking to the Columbia Forest Products rep a few months ago he said they are very aware of consumers increasing awareness of this issue, hence the much higher production of "healthy" plywood. Hopefully my boys will build with it!

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