Formaldehyde is a common chemical that has a strong pickle-like odor. It is currently used in thousands of products as an adhesive, bonding agent and solvent. Formaldehyde may also be formed when other chemicals break down. Formaldehyde is classified as a volatile organic compound (VOC). VOC’s are chemicals that become a gas at room temperature. As a result, products made with formaldehyde will release the gas into the air. This is called off-gassing. If high concentrations of formaldehyde are off-gassed and breathed in, it could cause health problems.
Where is it found?
Formaldehyde is found in many products such as particle board, plywood, paneling, pressed-wood products and urea formaldehyde foam insulation. Some synthetic fabrics, especially permanent press, shampoos and cosmetics may also contain small amounts. Formaldehyde is also a product of combustion. When you burn materials such as natural gas, wood, gasoline or tobacco, formaldehyde gas is released.
What are the health effects?
* eye, nose and throat irritation
* human eyes are especially sensitive to formaldehyde
Long-term exposure to high levels of formaldehyde has been shown to cause cancer.
How do I know if I have a formaldehyde problem?
You may want to measure the formaldehyde level in your home if you have:
Laminate flooring, furniture or any wood product made in China. ASD Environmental can test your home.