What Is Formaldehyde?
Formaldehyde is a colorless gas compound (HCHO) that can irritate eyes, mucous membranes and the upper respiratory system. It can be inhaled or absorbed by the skin. Formaldehyde is also a metabolic product of normal living cells. Formaldehyde is an excellent resin and binding agent and is very inexpensive to produce which contributes to it's wide usage (approximately 6 billion pounds are produced each year). The only way for you to know how much formaldehyde may be in your home is to test.
Where Can Formaldehyde Be Found?
Formaldehyde is found virtually everywhere, indoors and out, naturally occurring and man-made. It is a combustion product found in cigarette and wood smoke, natural gas, kerosene, exhaust from automobiles, incinerators and power plants. It is also widely used in building materials especially glue, Urea-formaldehyde foam insulation and pressed-wood products such as plywood, particle board, paneling and wood finishes. Many floor coverings contain formaldehyde such as carpet, padding and adhesives. Also used in furniture, paper products, cosmetics, deodorants, shampoos, fabric dyes and permanent-press fabrics, inks, disinfectants, air deodorizers and carpet deodorizers. Mobile homes, motor homes, and travel trailers are known for high amounts of formaldehyde since so many of their components may be made from particle board or pressed-wood products.
Why Is Formaldehyde Dangerous?
Even in small amounts formaldehyde can cause serious health problems and unfortunately takes years to finally dissipate after being used in manufactured products. In some cases, exposure to formaldehyde can increase a persons sensitivity to other irritants or chemicals that were never a problem in the past, making them allergic to almost anything. For some people, past exposure to formaldehyde has permanently impaired their health and well being for the rest of their lives.
What Are The Health Effects Of Formaldehyde?
Symptoms of low-level exposure include; runny nose, sore throat, cough, dermatitis, sleeping difficulties, headache, fatigue, breathing difficulties, sinus irritation, chest pain, frequent nausea, bronchitis, and decreased lung capacity. Signs of acute exposure include; abdominal pain, anxiety, coma, convulsions, diarrhea, and respiratory problems such as bronchitis, pneumonia or pulmonary edema.
How Do I Test For Formaldehyde?
The Healthy Home Test Kit for formaldehyde that measures even the smallest concentrations. The test kit is easy to use and comes with complete instructions. To perform your evaluation, simply open the monitor for 5 to 7 days then return it to our Lab. Your certified laboratory results will be accompanied by specific information on your home and the health effects that could result based on your measured exposure.
If There Is A Problem How Do I Fix It?
Finding and removing the source is the most effective, but can be costly. Reducing the temperature and lowering the humidity level to approximately 35 percent can also help to diminish the effects. Formaldehyde tends to double its level of outgassing for every 10°F increase in temperature. There are also some surface barriers available to cover and reduce the formaldehyde outgassing from some components. Many other methods are available depending upon the source and amount of formaldehyde present. Further details are included with each test kit.
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