Cafe Review
CityCafeBaltimore is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.

The Continued Problem of Formaldehyde Exposure

  • Apr 07, 2022
  • 95

There are so many items in the home that contain formaldehyde that it would be impossible to remove all of them. The amount of formaldehyde released from some items decreases with time, but can still be in quantities that are unsafe. It has been no secret that formaldehyde exposure is dangerous; for more than twenty years, the EPA has been warning the nation of the hazards of this product.

There are ways to filter the air and remove the VOCs emitted by formaldehyde, such as the Blueair 501 home air purifier, but removing as many of the items as possible that emit these off-gases is important, too. Elimination must be preceded by identification.

Some of the primary sources of formaldehyde are building products. Resins in many products have this killer in them, and the primary format is urea-formaldehyde resins.

Most wood building products have been replaced with wood manufactured products, which contain these harmful ingredients. Hardwood flooring is now primarily “engineered wood flooring,” which simply means that a thin piece of wood has glued together with wood pieces beneath it.

MDF (medium-density fiberboard) is a primary material in many cabinets. It is also considered the pressed wood product that emits more formaldehyde than any other. This is found in almost all furniture that is built of wood products and most of the inexpensive wood-like furnishings found in discount stores.

How Can the Dangers of Formaldehyde be Stopped?

It would be nice to report that scientists and the Federal government are working to reduce the amount of formaldehyde in the products we buy, but there is no strong indication that enough is being done to make any difference in the danger. You may find some solace in the Rabbit Air BioGS Review, which presents some insight in how to get better protection against the problem.

Because there is little chance that changes in the foreseeable future are going to make any difference in the exposure to formaldehyde, it is up to you to find ways to decrease your family’s exposure.

When building a new home or remodeling an older one, you can make some decisions to make air quality better. A few things that can make a difference in the amount of formaldehyde released into your living space include:

* Use real wood flooring – It costs more to get solid wood, but you don’t have to contend with the resins in the glues of the manufactured woods. Finishes still present a problem, so be sure to air out the house after the flooring is varnished.

* Purchase all wood cabinets – Even with all wood cabinets you get plywood that has some of the urea-formaldehyde resins in it, but it is much better than MDF.

* Don’t use particle board as a floor underlayment – Plywood with exterior glue is much safer.

* Don’t use poisonous insulation – Check the different kinds available because some types do not release VOCs. One new type is made from denim and may be available in your area.

When a building is complete and you get ready to furnish your new home, use as much existing furniture as you can. If you need to buy any other furnishings, consider second-hand furniture that has been restored or buy floor models from the store.

The newer the press woods used in furniture, the more off-gases from formaldehyde there will be. If you order furniture, it probably is relatively new when you get it and full of VOCs.

Hopefully, more will be done in the near future regarding the control of formaldehyde. Until then, take whatever steps you can to reduce your exposure.



0 ratings
Karen Page By, Karen Page
Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg have been called the brightest young author team on the culinary scene today's on NPR. Their previous books Becoming a Chef, Dining Out, and The New American Chef have all been finalists for or winners of James Beard and/or IACP Book Awards.
Prev Post
Taking Common Sense Action Against Indoor Air Pollutants
Next Post
What are VOC’s?