Dillon Consulting Limited (Dillon) was retained by Actsafe Safety Association to evaluate the potential exposures to formaldehyde and isocyanates associated with Medium Density Fiberboard (MDF) products and ISOBORD ™ used to construct sets and items for film and theatre production.

The results have indicated that without the use of proper engineering controls (e.g. local exhaust ventilation) or respiratory protection, there is a potential for exposure of workers to formaldehyde-containing dust. The preliminary airborne exposure monitoring of formaldehyde on wood dust resulted in a concentration of 1.5 ppm while cutting MDF, which exceeded the Ceiling Limit of 1.0 ppm. Also, the results have indicated that the potential for overexposure of workers to formaldehyde vapour from cutting and sanding MDF is unlikely.

The results from isocyanate monitoring during cutting and sanding ISOBORD indicated that the potential exposure to methylene bisphenyl isocyanate (MDI) vapour is unlikely.

It is recommended that the potential exposure to formaldehyde from formaldehyde-containing dust be minimized by engineering controls and the use of appropriate respiratory protection. Film industry personnel working frequently with MDF should be educated and informed about the potential exposure to formaldehyde during activities which generate large amounts of dust.

Although, exposure to MDI is unlikely when cutting or sanding ISOBORD, proper engineering controls and (e.g., local exhaust ventilation) or respiratory protection are required to control for dust.

The results presented in this report does not in any way endorse one product over the other for the film industry. Both products can be used in a safe manner without exposure to harmful contaminants if adequate engineering controls and personal protective equipment are used.

Occupational Exposure Evaluation of ISOBOARD and MDF Report PDF