What is Formaldehyde?
Used in several household products and building materials, formaldehyde is a gas that produces a pungent and distinct smell. This compound can be found in pressed-wood products such as plywood, adhesives used in floorings and furnishings; and certain insulation materials. It is also used to make other chemicals that are used in industrial and household products.
While small amounts of this gas are present in nearly all homes and offices, these amounts are within the acceptable threshold limits. Elevated levels of formaldehyde may be detected particularly after a renovation where new flooring, furniture and fabric are introduced into the occupied space and these materials off-gas over time.
What causes Formaldehyde in Homes & Offices?
Why do we need to remove Formaldehyde?
High levels of formaldehyde can be dangerous to human health. We usually spend 90% of our time indoors and it is well documented that indoor air pollution is 2 to 5 times the outdoor air pollution, and much worse in some conditions.
While children, elderly and those with existing respiratory issues are more susceptible to the effects of poor indoor air quality (IAQ), formaldehyde levels higher than 0.08 parts per million (ppm) can cause adverse health effects for all occupants.
What health problems does Formaldehyde cause?
Some people may have none, mild or severe reactions to formaldehyde in the environment. Some of the problems that this chemical can cause are:
- watery eyes
- burning sensations of the eyes, nose & throat
- skin irritation
Why must you measure VOC reading together with Formaldehyde reading?
Formaldehyde is in fact one of the most common types of VOCs. Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) include a variety of chemicals, some of which may have short to long-term negative health effects. These organic chemicals are commonly used as ingredients in an extensive range of household products and building materials. All of these products release organic compounds either during application or storage.
For any affected space with poor IAQ, if our testing approach adopts formaldehyde (HCHO) as the only measuring unit, other VOC gases like toluene and benzene may remain undetected. For instance, if 0 ppm is recorded for formaldehyde, it does not necessarily interpret that there is no other toxic VOC within the space.