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Formaldehyde Problem – Effects And Solutions

Formaldehyde in furniture can be harmful, especially in pressed wood products. Let's look up its detrimental effects and figure out solutions to deal with it.

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Wide parts of society now encounter formaldehyde due to its rising in construction materials. Advantages aside, its deleterious properties are worth-mentioning. Let’s dig in and find out its negative effects and some useful ways to deal with it.

What Is Formaldehyde?

Formaldehyde is a common chemical substance, a colorless gas with a pungent smell. It is used in manufacturing construction materials and a variety of household essentials. 

Besides, this gas is released when the wood is processed into lumber and wood-based panels. Formaldehyde emission will be detected after the wood is dried, pressed, and heated to a high temperature. 

It is also a side product of natural combustion caused by forest fires and incineration. Fuel combustion is another source of this gas. 

The amount of formaldehyde in wood emissions has been attributed to the heat breakdown of the wood’s polysaccharides. Yet, even if the wood has never been fired, people can detect this gas.

formaldehyde

What Are Sources Of Formaldehyde?

The formaldehyde sources involve construction materials and home furnishings. Stoves, ovens, or fireplaces are interior items that contain this substance. It exists alone in various items or conjunction with other chemicals. 

The most major producers of the compound in houses are pressed-wood products. We can find them through interior applications like chipboard, wood paneling, or fiberboard.  

Medium-density fiberboard (MDF) has a reputation for having the highest formaldehyde emissions. Urea-formaldehyde (UF) is used as an adhesive in MDF. This chemical helps to establish a stronger connection to the fiberboard.  

What Are Detrimental Effects Of Formaldehyde?

Formaldehyde has perfect fixation traits, inexpensive and easy usage. Thus, it comes up in several industrial and domestic fields. However, formaldehyde is an especially problematic indoor pollutant because it is harmful for human health and the environment.

Air Pollution

Industrial sites and indoor items mostly release formaldehyde. That said, we can find it in nature. It may be derived from animal waste, seawater, or wildfire smoke.

This gas also biodegrades swiftly in the environment. It will produce formic acid and carbon monoxide, which are hazardous gasses. These gasses can deplete the soil with minerals and nutrients that trees need to thrive. 

Animals exposed to this toxic gas can become ill and lose their capacity to reproduce. Moreover, it will shorten these animals’ lifespan. This toxic compoud may also alter an animal’s look and behavior. Fish, oysters, and other ocean animals are also worst affected by formaldehyde pollution.

Wildfire can release formaldehyde
Wildfire can release formaldehyde

Health Problems

Low blood pressure and unstable heart rate are among symptoms of formaldehyde poisoning. In extreme situations, there’re more symptoms like difficulty breathing, agitation, and unconsciousness. 

This gas can cause several hazardous effects. Coughing, nausea, chest pains, skin irritation are some symptoms of low-level formaldehyde exposure. Ingestion of corrosive chemicals can cause mouth, throat, and stomach ulcers.

It also affects the development of humans and increases the potential cancer risk. Exposure to urea-formaldehyde for a long time can cause menstrual disorders in women. Besides, it can raise the risk of lung and throat cancer, especially in workers.

People with asthma and other respiratory difficulties may be vulnerable to formaldehyde’s effects.

How To Reduce Your Exposure To Formaldehyde?

Use “Exterior-Grade” Pressed-Wood Products

“Exterior-grade” pressed-wood has less formaldehyde emission. Thus, it is a good alternative option to limit formaldehyde air pollution indoors.

Its gas emission is just 3.5 percent, and the glue used is not water-soluble. Because it emits the least formaldehyde, exterior-grade pressed-wood items are less harmful.

Also, this type of pressed wood uses phenol resins, not urea resins, so it’s safer for people. Normally, you can use exterior grades of plywood to make the roof covering or subfloor in your house. 

You can take advantage of Formaldehyde-free fiberboard to furnish your house. Some brands don’t add this substance to their fiberboard products. However, this is not what you can find on a regular basis.

Equip your household with exterior-grade pressed wood
Equip your household with exterior-grade pressed wood

Increase Ventilation In Your House

You can improve the indoor pace of ventilation to lessen formaldehyde levels. After having new items containing this toxic gas, you need to air your house. 

To bring new air in, you can open windows or use a ventilation system to blast away the old atmosphere. Ensure that any combustion equipment has emission systems that lead to the outside. You can keep ceiling fans in the house on a medium level to ventilate your space.

Use Air Conditioning

Another useful tip to reduce formaldehyde indoor air pollution is using air conditioners. They can minimize these gas emissions by reducing moisture in the house. People can also use conditioners to control and keep a moderate temperature in the interior space.

Moreover, running an AC can drop heat in the room and circulate it around the house. This continual air exchange also removes odors and replaces them with fresher air.

Frequently changing the air conditioner filter can help prevent allergies and bad smells. While still maintaining your room aired, you can set the indoor heat to a reasonable warm level. It may help you save money on cooling.

Air Out Your New Pressed-Wood Products

New appliances that generate formaldehyde sometimes have unpleasant chemical scents. When they are brand fresh, they emit the maximum formaldehyde level. It would be best if you placed these items outside at least a week to air out before bringing them into your house.

The best weather for airing your furnishings is when it is bright and windy. Don’t leave your equipment outside in inclement weather because it might be damaged. If the odor persists, you might use an essential oil spray to conceal it.

 formaldehyde

Conclusion

We have just figured out some toxic effects of formaldehyde and solutions to deal with it. We hope this brief article will help you have an overview of the substance. Besides, you can use some useful tips above to protect yourself from this gas.

Thank you for taking the time to read this post, and see you in the future one!

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