Formaldehyde in Your Home Air: What You Need to Know

Mar 19, 2018 | Environmental Testing, Indoor Air Quality

Whether you’re embarking on a new renovation or just ditching that ugly 80’s shag carpet, there are a few things you should know about formaldehyde.

When it comes to home remodeling and renovations, formaldehyde is present in several products including particleboard, plywood, furniture, insulation and flooring (see this article exposing high levels of formaldehyde in laminate flooring).

Here are some quick facts on formaldehyde along with tips to ensure that whatever your home product choices or remodeling project, you have the information you need to make the best decisions for your family and your health.

What to know

  • Formaldehyde is a colorless, strong smelling gas
  • Nearly every home can be found to have, at the very least, small amounts of formaldehyde. It’s in household products and building materials such as cabinets, walls and furniture
  • Higher levels of formaldehyde can be found in homes of smokers and homes with new construction or products
  • Symptoms of formaldehyde exposure can include coughing, nosebleeds, scratchy eyes and sore throat
  • Formaldehyde is linked to cancer, including nose and throat cancer
  • Newer homes have better insulation so formaldehyde exposure can be more prevalent in these homes

Tips on reducing formaldehyde exposure*

  1. Allow natural airflow! Opening your windows even for a few minutes a day can make a difference. If you have an air conditioner you can achieve a similar “flush-out” if it’s bringing in air from the outside
  2. Go smoke free. Or at least don’t smoke inside your home
  3. Monitor the temperature inside your home. Keep the temperature and humidity at the lowest comfortable setting to keep formaldehyde exposure at bay.
  4. Use exhaust fans as much as you can
  5. Be an involved consumer and pay attention to the labels on home products and materials. Look for:
    • Products labeled with “No VOC/Low VOC”
    • Insulation that does not have UF foam
    • Furniture, wood cabinetry or flooring without urea formaldehyde (UF) glues
    • Pressed wood products that either meet ultra low emitting formaldehyde (ULEF) levels (or contain no formaldehyde at all

Keep these formaldehyde facts and tips in mind when it comes to renovating. Making small adjustments in your daily life to reduce formaldehyde exposure can make a difference in your long-term health.

Are you curious about your overall indoor air quality? Consider the yogi home and water quality test today. It’s a fast, easy, do-it-yourself kit that will deliver actionable results and peace of mind.

 

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