Definition, Sources and Health Effects of Formaldehyde(HCHO) and How Do We Reduce Exposure To It
What is Formaldehyde?
Formaldehyde is a colorless, strong-smelling gas used in making building materials and many household products. It is used in pressed-wood products, such as particleboard, plywood, and fiberboard; glues and adhesives; permanent-press fabrics; paper product coatings; And certain insulation materials. It is also used to make other chemicals.
Formaldehyde is rapidly broken down in the air - generally within hours. It dissolves easily in water, but does not last long there, either. Formaldehyde can be added as a preservative to food, but it can also be produced as the result of cooking and smoking.
What is the Source Of Formaldehyde?
Since formaldehyde is used in the manufacturing of many household items—from furniture to cosmetics—it is present in every home. Higher concentrations of formaldehyde are found in homes with new products or new construction, as well as in homes with people who smoke tobacco products.
What are the health effects of Formaldehyde(HCHO)?
When formaldehyde is present in the air at levels exceeding 0.1 ppm, some individuals may experience adverse effects such as watery eyes; burning sensations in the eyes, nose, and throat; coughing; wheezing; nausea; and skin irritation. Some people are very sensitive to formaldehyde, whereas others have no reaction to the same level of exposure.
How to reduce exposure to indoor Formaldehyde?
- Establish a no smoking policy in your home.
- Clean chimneys and wood burning appliances.
- Keep idling gas engines away from the home.
- Buy solid wood furniture, or be sure pressed wood products are sealed.
- Increase ventilation during painting projects. Use low-VOC paints.
- Let new furnishings “off-gas” before bringing indoors.
- Ventilate your home regularly.
If you want to know what exactly is the formaldehyde level in your home, here are some Temtop Formaldehyde Monitors Recommended: