Plywood makes it easy to create your own equipment and provides a nice finishing for your interiors. They look like genuine wood, so you may think it is non-toxic ever. But if there are some leftover pieces at the end of the project, you will definitely burn them. But can you burn plywood? Isn’t it harmful? There are some hidden dangers of burning plywood. Today we are going to talk about this common but very important case. If you care about your own safety, keep an eye on until the end of this post.
Is Plywood Easy to Burn?
Plywood is an artificially manufactured wood. Therefore, it contains some chemicals and other materials apart from natural wood. It is recognized as a pressure-treated wood. When it is manufactured, wood veneers are layered using glue, so it comes as a flat wood surface.
You can use plywood for various projects around your house, such as flooring, fencing, producing furniture items, etc. The plywood can be easily burned because it instantly catches fire.
Due to its flammable material and thin configuration, it burns so quickly. Therefore, you need to be careful when you deal with both plywood and fire at the same time.
Does Plywood Give Toxic Fumes?
It is normal to issue fumes when you burn anything. But the problem is how safe to inhale that fume is. So let’s see how much harmful the fumes of burning plywood are in the scientific aspect.
The wood layers of plywood are combined with each other by formaldehyde resins. And there are two types of formaldehyde. Urea- formaldehyde glue is used for indoor plywood, and phenol-formaldehyde resin is used to layer the outdoor plywood.
Sometimes, melamine glue is applied on the layers of plywood instead of the above glue and resin. Moreover, some old treated plywood has arsenic which is dangerous, there is no smell or taste, though.
When the plywood is burned with these chemicals, it is harmful to anyone’s health who is near the fire. Besides, the air is polluted due to those offensive fumes. There are some researches that reveal the workers who often face these fumes even become victims of cancers.
Why Does Plywood Burn So Fast?
You can see that the plywood takes no time to burn. The reason why, both treated and untreated plywood is made from thin wood layers. Thus, the flames creep through the layers.
Consequently, the whole catch fire and spread within a few seconds. Untreated plywood may burn faster than treated ones. Anyways, because of this quality, the fire of plywood is included in the ‘Class A Fire.’ It is advisable to protect yourself when working with them.
Is It Okay to Burn Plywood in a Stove?
You may guess it is okay to burn plywood in the outdoor wood stove. However, there nothing will be changed. The toxic fumes will spread in the atmosphere causing difficulties in inhaling and exhaling. Formaldehyde causes some health issues, such as uncomfortable breathing and burning or watery eyes.
Sometimes, you will feel your throat burning as well. If you suffer from asthma, the situation will be worse. Therefore, burning plywood is obviously harmful due to its toxic fumes.
On the other hand, if you burn plywood in a stove, the chemicals that distill from the burning plywood will harm your chimney as well because the chemical can erode the inside of your chimney, so it affects the structure with time.
Therefore, do not burn any plywood, even on the outdoor stove. It would save your good health as well as your stove. And it is prohibited to burn it in the open air according to most municipal regulations worldwide.
Can you Burn Plywood in a Fire Pit?
If you burn plywood in a fire pit, it will cause some serious health problems. Mainly, fatigue and repertory irritation can happen if you inhale the toxic fumes of formaldehyde. Further, it can affect the function of your lungs. Sometimes, skin allergies can be seen if your skin is very sensitive. You may not identify these serious issues instantly.
But some clues from your body will indicate you should no longer stay near the fire. You will feel that your eyes burn and become watery. And the nose will be blocked due to the fume. Moreover, there will be a burning sensation in your throat.
At the same time, toxic air such as carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, mercury and so on add to the environment., if you burn plywood.
Due to these issues, the government of the USA has banned burning plywood using any kind of appliance.
Can you Burn Untreated Plywood?
There are two types of plywood treated and untreated. In general, if the plywood is preserved using chemicals, it is called treated plywood. The aim of the preservation is to withstand the rot.
When the plywood is not preserved in such a way, it is known as untreated plywood, which is less thick than treated ones. However, it is harmful to burn even untreated plywood. The reason why, there is the glue that bonds the layers of plywood. The glue is enough to issue offensive fumes. Thus, it is not recommended to burn even untreated plywood.
What Wood Should you Not Burn?
Apart from plywood, there are some other varieties of treated wood that issue offensive fumes when burning. Have a look at the following list.
- Polished and Sealed Wood – the thin coat on the wood surface tends to react when burning. As a result, toxic fumes are released.
- Epoxy-coated Wood – the fume is more toxic than the above variety. The residue of epoxy wood is difficult to remove after burning as well.
- Vine-covered Wood – since there is a coat of vine, burning can cause to release of urushiol. This chemical is harmful to the lungs.
- MDF or Particle Board – these materials cannot be identified as wood but are often used as an alternative. They contain fine fibers, but this material is more harmful than plywood.
Thus, it would be best to direct any artificial wood to recycle rather than burn because of the health problems they carry. And when you want to create a fire, always use natural wood.
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