Did you know that 'regular' cabinetry off gasses urea formaldehyde into your home for up to five years? And, if you have a done a great job insulating and weather proofing your house, those voc's (volatile organic compounds) don't leave the house, you simply breathe them into your lungs. This is one example of why EPA has determined that the indoor air quality of our homes is 5 TIMES worse than the exterior air quality.
The quick solution is to purchase cabinetry that is made with a plywood box. Careful, there is plywood available that DOES have added urea formaldehyde in it. Make sure that the plywood that you are paying extra for (and you will be paying an up charge) is formaldehyde free.
There are other options to complicate our decisions: there is a new particle board (EcoCore) that consists of 100% recycled materials that also contains no urea formaldehyde. There is also 'Environmentally Preferred Particleboard' which has extremely low amounts of urea formaldehyde. Or, you can purchase cabinets and allow some time to 'air them out' in an area that circulates air out of the home (open the windows?). They will still off gas into the years, but the majority of the formaldehyde will be gone.
Many of you may be asking the same question that I asked - why do all these products have urea formaldehyde in them? And why can't we use 'solid' wood? The answer is that solid wood reacts to water and moisture in the air which causes warpage. That is why, if you order a 'slab' style door, it is never 'solid' wood, it is a wood veneer on a substrate that does not warp. And, that is why cabinet boxes are not made of solid wood, because they would be constantly expanding and contracting and warping. The materials that do not warp significantly are plywood (many layers of wood) and particle board. Particle board is made up of many particles that are held together with binding agents. Most of these binding agents contain urea formaldehyde. That is why some plywood and most particle board off gas voc's. Sometimes, by solving one problem, we seem to have created others.
Breathe well & Have a Happy Thanksgiving,