Formaldehyde: A Dangerous Hazard

One of the dangerous hazards that could be found inside your home is formaldehyde. Formaldehyde is a chemical that is colorless and pungent smelling. It is widely used in several industries in order to build materials and household products.

What Products Contain Formaldehyde

Here are some of the usual household products that contain formaldehyde:
• Tobacco – When you lit a tobacco, the tobacco will emit a smoke containing formaldehyde.
• Urea-Formaldehyde Foam Insulation – Or UFFI. Back in the 1970s, several homes used the UFFI as a measure for energy conservation. However, it was then discovered that UFFI contains high levels of formaldehyde that poses a great risk for every home. Luckily, as time goes by, the levels of formaldehyde emissions decrease so if you have UFFI since 1970, you have low levels of formaldehyde now. Modern homes do not use this type of insulation anymore.
• Pressed Wood Products – This includes fiberboard, hardwood, plywood, wall paneling and particle board. Other furniture made with these products also contains formaldehyde. If you are living in a mobile home, you are mostly at risk for indoor formaldehyde pollution since a mobile home is usually made up of these products. And because of a compact interior space, the formaldehyde emissions are trapped inside.
• Other products that contain formaldehyde are durable press drapes, textiles, unvented fuel burning appliances (gas stoves, kerosene space heaters) and glues.

How Can Formaldehyde Affect One’s Health

Formaldehyde has been found to be dangerous to one’s health. It could cause the following conditions when one is exposed to formaldehyde at considerable levels:
• Burning sensations (eyes and throat)
• Watery eyes
• Severe allergic reactions
• Nausea
• Wheezing
• Coughing
• Difficulty of breathing
• Asthma attacks
• Skin rash
• Fatigue
• Cancer

Though it is still uncertain as to what level of formaldehyde can cause cancer, other factors may still contribute to its development. However, it is certain that formaldehyde is one of the many factors that can cause cancer. It still depends on how much an individual is exposed to certain levels of formaldehyde. Several health boards and departments have declared that formaldehyde is a toxic air contaminant and carcinogenic to humans.

How to Reduce Exposure

One could not truly escape being exposed to this dangerous hazard but you could reduce your exposure. To minimize your exposure, use exterior grade pressed wood products since they have lower levels of formaldehyde. They also contain phenol resins and not urea resins. Also, you have to increase your ventilation especially when indoors. Use air-condition and dehumidifiers to lower levels of formaldehyde.