Plastic Laminate (known as P-Lam) is a common countertop and cabinet material. It is a composite product made from layers of paper and often various formaldehyde-based resins, pressed together to form a rigid sheet. It is adhered to a substrate (medium density fiberboard, particle board, etc.) for structural support.
Laminate countertops are usually HPL (High Pressure Laminates) or HPDL (High Pressure Decorative Laminates) which provide a cheap, long-lasting surface often used in commercial and residential spaces.
Areas of concern:
One concern with P-Lam is that substrates rely on formaldehyde-based binders which release formaldehyde into interior spaces over time. Formaldehyde is a known carcinogen and asthmagen, so it is important to specify laminate countertops with substrates made with a NAUF (no added urea formaldehyde) or NAF (no added formaldehyde) binder when possible.2
✓ Be sure to:
Choose alternative cabinet and countertop materials:
✓ If you have to use a laminate countertop:
✗ Watch out for: