A Possible Source of Health Problems
Formaldehyde is a chemical widely used in many building materials and household products. According to the Environmental Defense Scoreboard it is ranked as one of the most hazardous compounds to ecosystems and human health.
Possible Health Problems
Exposure to formaldehyde affects people differently. Some experience no adverse reactions when exposed to moderate levels, while others do, even after low exposure. This colorless, pungent gas can cause one or more of the following health problems:
- Eye irritation or watery eyes
- Nose irritation
- Skin rashes
- Throat irritation
- Upper respiratory tract irritation
Possible Sources in the Home
Formaldehyde exists in every home to some degree. The concentrations in the home vary depending on the age of the home and the quantity of pressed wood products. Here is a partial listing of products that may contain formaldehyde or formaldehyde releasing agents.
- Air fresheners
- Carpet backings
- Cigarette smoking
- Drapery fabric
- Floor polishes
- Fuel burning appliances – wood, kerosene or natural gas
- Household liquid scouring cleaners
- Household rug and upholstery cleaners
- Paper products
- Particle board – furniture, fixtures, cabinets
- Permanent press clothing
- Plywood paneling resins
- Rug and upholstery cleaners
- Scatter rugs and bath mats
- Sheet vinyl flooring
- Toilet bowl cleaners
- Wall coverings
Formaldehyde Increases through Exposure to Ozone from Ionizers and Ozone Generators
The above is the title of an article that I came across while searching for MERV related information – the article was written by Jim Rosenthal.
Very interesting I believe and very informative, particularly to those in the air filtration business.
Quoting briefly (as you can read the rest of the article from the publishing website – link: http://allergyclean.com/article-formaldehyde.htm) the rest of the meat and potatoes you can find and read on the URL / link above.
Formaldehyde (HCHO) is a common substance in both indoor and outdoor environments. It is used in a wide range of products including wall board, glues, some carpets, fragrance products and insulation. It is also found in cigarette and cigar smoke and is a byproduct of hydrocarbon combustion. The National Toxicology Program (NTP) carcinogenic classification is that it is: “reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen.” Other health effects include eye, nose and skin irritation; exacerbation of asthma symptoms (characterized by coughing, difficulty breathing, bronchial spasm and pulmonary edema); lung damage; membranous nephropathy and liver toxicity. (Source: U.S. Department of Labor — http://www.osha.gov).
Formaldehyde exposure limits have been set by various governmental bodies. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has set a ceiling of 100 ppb for a 15 minute exposure.