First, the bad news: formaldehyde is in many household products and is necessary to the manufacturing of them, so to some extent is unavoidable. Many new homes have too much formaldehyde and too little ventilation.
But there is good news: we can substantially reduce its presence in our homes. There are practical steps one can take to drastically reduce the presence of, and exposure to, formaldehyde. While it may be necessary in the manufacturing of certain products, it doesn’t need to linger in the air we breathe!
Formaldehyde is often used in clothing and drapes to create a permanent press. It is used in adhesives, and in some paints and coating products. According to the E.P.A., formaldehyde is most concentrated in particleboard, plywood paneling and medium density fiberboard.
Exposure to formaldehyde has several health consequences. It can cause watery eyes, burning sensations in the eyes and throat, and difficulty breathing. At its most extreme, it can cause severe wheezing and coughing, allergic reactions and perhaps even cancer.
Tips to Reduce Formaldehyde in your home:
- Practice the three basics of improving Indoor air quality... Source Control, Ventilation, then Filtration.
- Source Control -remove the formaldehyde based products or avoid bringing them inside your home.
- Ventilation -increase ventilation efficiently using the RecoupAerator®. Continuous ventilation will rid your home of unwanted toxins which off gas from furniture and finishes.
- Test the level of formaldehyde in the air. For as little as $40 you can check existing levels of the byproduct in your home, either as a precautionary measure or after bringing in the product into your home.
- Try allowing the product containing formaldehyde to air out before bringing it into your home. Leave the newly purchased product in your garage for a few days.
By taking these simple steps, and by being aware of formaldehyde’s presence in so many products, we can substantially reduce its risk to our families’ health.