Formaldehyde is normally present in various environments, in both indoor and outdoor air. Though formaldehyde is all around us, the full effect of exposure to even small amounts of formaldehyde is still unknown. What exactly is formaldehyde and how to reduce the health risks of it?
1. Formaldehyde is a naturally occurring organic compound with the formula CH2O or HCHO.
2. Formaldehyde is colorless, flammable and strong smelling gas.
3. Formaldehyde is all around us. Industrial emissions, traffic, cooking, smoking and building materials are sources of formaldehyde. Also many everyday products, such as cosmetics, furniture, paper products and detergents contain formaldehyde.
4. High levels of formaldehyde are often found in new homes or homes with new construction. Treated wood, insulation, carpeting, paints, glues and cabinets all contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that will evaporate or off-gas into the air.
5. Formaldehyde is also a significant emission from biofuel usage.
6. Formaldehyde exposure is a special concern for sensitive people, such as children, elderly, pregnant women and people with breathing problems. If you are more sensitive to formaldehyde and are exposed to more of it for a longer time, you are more likely to have symptoms of formaldehyde allergy.
7. As a toxic and volatile compound, formaldehyde exposure can cause sore throat, cough, nausea, eye irritation, nosebleeds, asthmatic attacks and even cancer.
8. To avoid formaldehyde exposure, take care of ventilation, wash new items, air out new products, choose home products with low levels of formaldehyde, do not smoke inside the house and control house temperature – overheating may even rise the formaldehyde levels.
9. It takes about two years for formaldehyde to diminish from products.
10. To avoid formaldehyde allergy and serious health effects of formaldehyde, it is recommended to measure the formaldehyde levels, especially if you can smell strong chemical odors or if you get any symptoms, like breathing problems at home.
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