Safe Plywood and OSB Choices: Ensuring health-friendly building materials in WikiHouse projects

Hello WikiHouse community,

I’ve been delving into the different materials that are commonly used in the WikiHouse modular building system, particularly plywood and OSB (Oriented Strand Board). While these materials offer excellent structural and functional benefits, there are growing concerns about the potential health impacts of certain types of plywood and OSB due to the chemicals and adhesives used in their production.

I recently came across information that raised concerns about the release of chemicals from OSB boards under specific conditions, particularly in modern constructions that are built to be very airtight. The potential for increased humidity and consequent chemical reactions could lead to the release of substances like Phenols, Chloranisoles, and Chlorkresols from these boards. In certain situations, this could lead to unpleasant odors and, more worryingly, potential health concerns.

Further research highlighted the importance of choosing the right type of adhesive for these wood products. While PMDI (Polymeres Diphenylmethandiisocyanat) is free from formaldehyde and offers higher resistance to moisture, the more commonly used MUPF (Melamine-urea-phenol-formaldehyde) can release formaldehyde, especially when used in products like chipboards.

Considering the emphasis of WikiHouse on creating high-performance homes and small buildings, it’s paramount that we prioritize the health and well-being of the occupants. Therefore, I’m reaching out to see if any members of this community have explored or can recommend specific types of plywood or OSB (such as eco OSB/4) that are not just structurally sound but also health-friendly.

Has there been any discussion or guidelines around the choice of these materials to ensure minimal health impacts? Are there any tested and recommended alternatives that use safer adhesives like PVAC (Polyvinyl acetate)?

Looking forward to insights and suggestions from the community!

Warm regards, Medic

FYI @Gabriele


To my knowledge, the Nordic Ecolabel / Nordic Swan certificate has had very strict requirements on product emissions. Some Nordic manufacturers would comply with these requirements.