What is Formaldehyde?
What are the sources of Formaldehyde?
What are the health Effects if Exposure to Formaldehyde?
How can Formaldehyde concentration be controlled?

What is Formaldehyde?

Formaldehyde is a colorless organic chemical of aldehydes group. It is one of the important and widely used chemicals industrially in several household products, building materials and is also a bi-product of combustion. Hence, its concentration both outdoors and indoors is high.

Sources of Formaldehyde

There are several sources of formaldehyde such as:

  •    Particleboard

  •    Medium density fiberboard

  •    Plywood

  •    Paneling

  •    Urea-formaldehyde foam insulation (UFFI)

  • Some consumer paper products, such as grocery bags, waxed papers, facial tissues and paper towels treated with urea-formaldehyde (UF) resins to make them stronger.
    Many common household cleaning agents also contain formaldehyde, and UF resins are used as fire retardants, stiffeners, water repellents, wrinkle resisters, and adhesive binders in floor covering, carpet backing and permanent press clothes. Its concentration is high in mobile homes.

    Health Effects

    Formaldehyde at high concentration is a carcinogen to animals but can be correlated with the buccal cavity cancer and nasopharyngeal cancer in human beings (as per the studied made by the US EPA).
    Formaldehyde causes eye, nose and throat irritation, rashes, dizziness, nausea, nosebleeds, vomiting, headaches etc.

    Control Strategies

    Discarding the materials having high formaldehyde content can reduce formaldehyde concentration inside the homes and by use of those materials having less content of formaldehyde.
    Use of some coats over the items that emit formaldehyde can also be a way to control the strategies.
    Before occupying a house having all new items that can emit formaldehyde should be should be unoccupied for 3- 4 weeks as it give enough time to emit maximum formaldehyde and hence, gives out less afterwards.
    Rate of formaldehyde release depends high heat level and somewhat on humidity hence controlling the temp and humidity can decrease the release of formaldehyde.

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