I use Sherwin-Williams Kem-Aqua conversion varnish. I'm worried about the health risk of the formaldehyde emissions. I have a respirator cartridge specifically for organic vapors and formaldehyde, but have heard that these products can out-gas formaldehyde far above acceptable limits for 24 to 48 hours after it has been applied. How do I determine whether the amount of formaldehyde in the product is a lot or a little? The MSDS says that the % by volume of formaldehyde is .3. Is 3% a lot?
I don't think .3 is 3%, but more like .3% or .003. No finish company puts anything in the finish that isn't needed--formaldehyde is needed in conversion varnish to cross link. ML Campbell is low formaldehyde. I find Campbell looks great off the gun, but in a few days it pulls back more than the same wet mils of S-W conversion varnish.
Bob Niemeyer, forum technical advisor
Wood dust is a known carcinogen. It is dangerous to breathe in. Right now there is not enough data to determine how long you have to be exposed to wood dust and in what quantities until it presents a cancer danger.
What does not take so long to develop from breathing wood dust is industrial asthma. Once you get it you have it for life. Its effects are deleterious and lasting.
Smoking increases the risks and dangers of everything exponentially.