Formaldehyde Is a Hot Topic in the News. The wood products company Weyerhaeuser recently recalled their Flak Jacket product where odor and Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) concerns are an issue. The 60-Minutes Lumber Liquidators piece on Health and Safety Violations associated with Formaldehyde will shock you. Watch it right now for the sake of your family’s health.
What You Should Know About Formaldehyde
We are all exposed to small quantities of Formaldehyde in air, foods we eat and in products we use. In fact, small amounts of formaldehyde are produced naturally by plants, animals and humans. But its use in the production of resins that bind many of the wood products in our homes that is of particular concern. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is a great resource to get all the details.
Is My Home’s Indoor Air Quality at Risk?
When building materials such as wood floors, plywood and resins; furniture; carpeting and household products off-gas inside the home, formaldehyde can reach dangerous levels. It’s a colorless flammable gas that does initially have a distinct pungent aroma to the trained investigator. But quickly breaks down in air making it difficult to detect taking years for new building materials to totally off-gas.
Formaldehyde Health Effects
Some of the more common health effects from low level exposure are eye, nasal cavity, and throat irritation and neurological effects. Coughing, wheezing, chest pains, and bronchitis are also a concern. Reproductive issues, changes in lung function and eczema (inflamed / irritated skin) is found in high level exposure. Formaldehyde is a known human carcinogen where the Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry (ATSDR) has detailed information of health effects. But you can take action now.
What Can I Do?
Suspect Formaldehyde exposure? Engaging a qualified Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) professional to perform an IAQ investigation is a good idea. They will interview the occupants, assess building materials and contents and take air and / or bulk material testing and followup with a report with recommended courses of action for immediate relief.
How Do I Get Relief?
The quickest way to get relief is to remove yourself from the premises and start ventilating the home. If no relief is obtained and you still experience ill health effects, removing suspect materials may be your only option which can be quite an undertaking.
Do You Have More Questions?
Have persistent respiratory or other health issues that you suspect may be coming from Formaldehyde? An investigation by a qualified IAQ Firm such as GreenWorks Environmental, LLC will help determine your next move. Call one of their Environmental Advisors at (732) 223-2073 to get some answers.