I started working in a school as a DT technician 5 years ago. It was like walking onto a skip and a shrine to MDF. I have never in 35 years of working in industry used MDF. The entire place and the machinery was covered with MDF dust. All of the machinery was attached to inadequate extractor units and in some cases to Henry type vacuum cleaners that were full to bursting. Health and safety did not exist and the H&S file had one piece of paper in it referring to the use of a pillar drill. The classrooms and the prep room were a total disgrace. Naturally I spent the first few weeks simply cleaning the place. I eventually found some paper masks crushed in the bottom of a box and covered in the usual dust. Eventually the place began to look a bit better but very little attention was paid by the school as to H&S issues within the workshops, in fact the schools H&S officer removed an extractor fan in my prep room as it was considered to be in a dangerous place. 18 months later I never saw the fan replaced as I was diagnosed with an interstitial lung disease and retired on ill health grounds.
This has given me time to look at the issues related to MDF and lung disease. It has also given the school time to replace the fan and upgrade all extractors whilst instructing the cleaners to use vacuum cleaners instead of brooms and brushes.
My investigations into interstitial lung disease and the inhalation of MDF dust often mentions that it is an irritant, very hazardous and referring to MDF as the "new asbestos". I guess that this is why manufactures make what called "Safe" MDF, i.e. without urea formaldehyde. This is why the USA has banned the use and manufacture of the unsafe stuff. Australia are considering doing the same.
Yet with all of the above that seems clear I still have unanswered questions.
Why did the school use MDF when another school in the same area consider it
Every medial professional I have met has asked the same question "do you work in a dusty atmosphere" yet they cannot/will not confirm that my condition is as a result of my poor working conditions.
Why did the school replace the extractor fan and upgrade everything after my diagnosis.
When I ordered masks why were they considered to be an unnecessary expense on an already tight budget.
Why is MDF still used in secondary and primary schools without the proper precautions in place.
Why is MDF sold without warnings.
Why do my solicitors only act upon the conclusions of my medical report, when throughout the world sections of both professions and H&S groups refer to it as "the new asbestos".
If anyone has any help or guidance I will be very grateful as I am finding this situation very debilitating indeed. I would, so dearly, love to play with my little grand daughter but I just can't breathe. I therefore need answers.