Formaldehyde's Impact on Indoor Air Quality
Formaldehyde is an important chemical used widely by industry to manufacture building materials and numerous household products. It is also a by-product of combustion and certain other natural processes. Thus, it may be present in substantial concentrations both indoors and outdoors.
Formaldehyde can cause irritation of the skin, eyes, nose and throat. High levels of exposure may cause some types of cancers.
Where formaldehyde is found
Formaldehyde is found in:
Resins used in the manufacture of composite wood products (i.e., hardwood plywood, particleboard and medium-density fiberboard)
Building materials and insulation
Household products such as glues, permanent press fabrics, paints and coatings, lacquers and finishes, and paper products
Preservatives used in some medicines, cosmetics and other consumer products such as dishwashing liquids and fabric softeners
Fertilizers and pesticides
It is a byproduct of combustion and certain other natural processes, and so is also found in:
Emissions from un-vented, fuel burning appliances, like gas stoves or kerosene space heaters.
How you can be exposed to formaldehyde
The primary way you can be exposed to formaldehyde is by breathing air containing off-gassed formaldehyde. Everyone is exposed to small amounts of formaldehyde in the air that has off-gassed from products, including composite wood products.
Resources and Guidance Materials, with Translations, for the Formaldehyde Emission Standards for Composite Wood Products Rule.
The Formaldehyde Standards for Composite Wood Products Act, signed into law July 7, 2010, by
President Obama, added Title VI to the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). The law established
limits for formaldehyde emissions from composite wood products: hardwood plywood, mediumdensity
fiberboard, and particleboard. The national emissions standards in the law are designed to
reduce exposures to formaldehyde, avoid harmful health effects and mirror standards previously
established by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) for products sold, offered for sale,
supplied, used or manufactured for sale in California. Congress tasked the U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA) with developing regulations to implement this Act.
Specifically, this rule will:
Limit formaldehyde emissions from composite wood products that are sold, manufactured, or
imported in the United States.
Require labelling these wood products as TSCA Title VI compliant one year after the rule is
Set testing requirements to ensure that products comply with those standards.
Establish a third-party certification program to ensure that composite wood panel producers
comply with the new emissions limits.
Level the playing field for domestic manufacturers who have a high rate of compliance with the
Ensure that products outside of California will meet the new standard and thus, not emit
dangerous amounts of formaldehyde.
Include exemptions from some testing and recordkeeping requirements for products made with
ultra low-emitting and no-added formaldehyde resins.
What are composite wood products and what types are covered by this rule?
Composite wood products are created by binding strands, particles, fibers, veneers, or boards of
wood together with adhesives (i.e., glues) and include hardwood plywood, medium-density
fiberboard, and particleboard. Formaldehyde is found in the adhesives used in a wide range of
composite wood products.
Composite wood products are commonly used in the manufacture of furniture, kitchen cabinets,
flooring, picture frames and wooden children’s toys, among other products
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Including in our Mold Inspection we provide an additional services at no charge to you:
1) Carbon Dioxide (Test for Ventilation at the house to be safe levels.
2) Carbon Dioxide (Testing to monitor Oxygen and the possibility of having immediate danger at the house, CO or Carbon Monoxide is a very dangers gas.
3) Hydrogen Sulfide H2S
5) Oxygen levels at the house.
Formaldehyde is a common chemical used in building materials and even household products. Formaldehyde can be found both indoors and outdoors. The most common sources of formaldehyde are homes that contain smokers and fuel burning appliances that are not venting properly and many others. Particleboard, some shelving, cabinetry are just to name a few items found in the household that may contain formaldehyde presence.
A form of formaldehyde foam insulation was most commonly used in homes up until the late 1980's then it was determined that this was a concern due to health problems so it was taken off the residential market. This type of insulation will be a dark yellow. If you have questions or concerns on whether your home contains this type of insulation, give us a call today and we can help!
Some health concerns of formaldehyde include watery eyes, burning sensation of your throat or eyes and even difficulty breathing depending on the levels.
The standard test for formaldehyde usually only takes about 20-30 minutes but will provide you with the results your family needs to feel safe and comfortable in your own home.
Controlling the heat and humidity in your home are important to the level of formaldehyde exposure in your home. Whenever possible, before bringing a product inside the home that has formaldehyde based materials, let the item air out in a well ventilated space to ensure your family is not exposed.
Once your home is removed of the dangerous formaldehyde items or insulation, the levels will decrease rapidly. Give us a call today if you feel that your home may have formaldehyde exposure. We are here to help!