Have you ever walked into a room that’s been recently redecorated and felt your eyes water or your nose start to itch and run? The culprit is indoor air pollution, often caused by formaldehyde!
Formaldehyde - the #1 pollutant of indoor environments
Formaldehyde is a colorless gas with a pungent odor. It’s commercial uses in disinfectants, preservatives, and adhesives is wide spread. Approximately 90% of all adhesives and resins are formaldehyde-based. The wood processing and manufacturing industry makes extensive use of urea-formaldehyde resins and adhesives for the reason that it is cheap, a good insulator, resistant to acid and moisture, and hard wearing.
Because formaldehyde adhesives are so prevalent, common home construction and design materials such as plywood, medium density fiberboard (MDF), particleboard, veneers and laminate flooring become key sources of indoor formaldehyde pollution.
A study from the Yokohama National University in Japan showed that indoor furniture and decoration materials release formaldehyde for 8 -15 years on average.
Formaldehyde, no where to run
According to "Formaldehyde in Indoor Air Health Standards" of the People's Republic of China, the maximum allowable concentration of formaldehyde in indoor air is 0.08mg/m3. The average home in China, constructed and decorated with traditional materials and furniture, contains formaldehyde levels of 0.238 mg/m3. more »
Emissions standards for flat panel products are divided into classes: E0 class, E1 class, and E2 class:
E2-class formaldehyde emission (desiccator method) ≤ 5.0 mg/L. These products cannot be used for indoors;
E1 formaldehyde emission level (desiccator method) ≤ 1.5 mg/L. Indoor usage is limited for these products;
E0 formaldehyde emission level (desiccator method) ≤ 0.5 mg/L, can be used indoors;
Even when using indoor approved paneling (E1 or E0 class), there is still formaldehyde release. If used prevalently, there is a high risk of formaldehyde gas accumulation in the air.
Because modern living space are typically closed from the outdoors, any interior constructed with traditional manufactured wood paneling will off-gas formaldehyde over time:
"According to data collected by the China Building Decoration Association in 2014, China's household indoor formaldehyde exceeded the average worldwide levels by 70% -80%. The highest detected formaldehyde emissions level exceeded the national standard by 4.2 times."
Unimaginable hazards of formaldehyde
In 2004, The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified formaldehyde to be a carcinogen. The IARC found sufficient evidence that formaldehyde causes human nasopharyngeal cancer, nasal sinus cancer, as well as evidence that formaldehyde can cause leukemia.
Long-term inhalation of low doses of formaldehyde can cause chronic respiratory diseases, dermatitis, allergies; infertility, miscarriage, stillbirth or fetal malformation; neonatal immune system disorders, mental retardation, congenital asthma; and can even cause serious illness such as pharyngeal cancer, nasal sinus cancer, colon cancer, brain tumors, leukemia, and uremia.