Tampa 7/17/2013 4:24:48 AM
News / Health & Wellness

How Safe is Formaldehyde in our Buildings and Homes?

Formaldehyde, a colorless, pungent-smelling gas, can cause watery eyes, burning sensations in the eyes and throat, nausea, and difficulty in breathing in some humans exposed at elevated levels (above 0.1 parts per million).


Formaldehyde (HCHO) is considered a strong irritant and potent sensitizer. Inhalation of large amount of HCHO can cause severe irritation of the upper respiratory tract and death. Data from human exposures indicate that exposure to large concentrations of HCHO gas may lead to pulmonary edema. Even HCHO gas present in the workroom at concentrations of 1 to 11 ppm can cause eye, nose, and throat irritation. Formaldehyde has the potential to cause cancer in humans.

Sources of formaldehyde in the home include building materials, pressed wood products (hardwood plywood wall paneling, particleboard, or fiberboard) and furniture made with these pressed wood products. Urea-formaldehyde foam insulation (UFFI), combustion sources and environmental tobacco smoke. Durable press drapes, other textiles, and glues.

Health Effects:

Formaldehyde, a colorless, pungent-smelling gas, can cause watery eyes, burning sensations in the eyes and throat, nausea, and difficulty in breathing in some humans exposed at elevated levels (above 0.1 parts per million). High concentrations may trigger attacks in people with asthma. There is evidence that some people can develop sensitivity to formaldehyde. It has also been shown to cause cancer in animals and may cause cancer in humans. Health effects include eye, nose, and throat irritation; wheezing and coughing; fatigue; skin rash; severe allergic reactions. May also cause other effects listed under "organic gases."

Monitoring for Formaldehyde:

Indoor air quality is a very site-specific issue and should be monitored as such. Some factors affecting the frequency of monitoring and the types of testing employed are size, location, occupant characterization, activity level and categorization, and, of course, complaints logged. Typical commercial space monitoring occurs monthly or quarterly, while residential monitoring may be done on a seasonal basis. Any real estate, commercial and or residential, that is being bought or sold should be evaluated.

Vapor monitor badges, such as the Formaldehyde Screen Check (FOSC), have been used over 25 years by VA, Armed Forces, many health care facilities, and by some of the largest industrial corporations throughout the world as well as consumers.

The Formaldehyde Screen Check (FOSC) monitoring benefits include:

·                     Can be used to measure personal exposure or room exposure in homes, businesses or industry

·                     Easy to use and inexpensive

·                     Data validated for accuracy

·                     Analyzed by a AIHA accredited lab

·                     Meets OSHA accuracy Requirements

·                     Patented product (badges)

·                     Written report

The Formaldehyde Screen Check can be purchased at a number of on-line dealers and distributors nationally such as Grainger, Lab Safety Supplies, PE Equipment, Victors Distributors, among others or on-line at www.IndoorAirTest.com.

Additional IAQ Screen Check products are available: Lead Check, Mold Screen Check, Fiberglass Screen Check, Dust Mite Screen Check, Organic Vapor Screen, FAST Screen Check, Radon Check, Formaldehyde Screen Check and Allergen Screen Check among others.

Contact Building Health Check at 1-800-422-7873 ext 404 for information on the IAQ Screen Check and evalu-aire product line.

 About Environmental Diagnostics Laboratory (EDLab):

Alan Wozniak founded Pure Air Control Services, Inc. in 1984 as a small mechanical contracting firm and has since set the industry standard for indoor environmental quality diagnosis, environmental laboratory and remediation. Pure Air Control Services has serviced more than 600 million square feet of indoor environments in over 10,000 facilities.

The Environmental Diagnostics Laboratory (EDLab) (established in 1992) at Pure Air Control Services (PACS) is an AIHA accredited environmental lab offering complete and comprehensive indoor environmental microbiology laboratory services. They include: microbiology, aerobiology, chemistry, allergen assays and microscopy designed to meet all your indoor air needs. EDLab supports IAQ investigations by assisting with strategic sampling plan development and supplying media collection equipment while performing a wide range of environmental analyses. 

The company’s expanding client roster includes the General Services Administration (GSA); US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Allstate Insurance; Carrier Air Conditioning; US Naval Air Warfare Center, Orlando; and Naval Air Station - King's Bay, Georgia, and many other Fortune 500 companies, school boards, and city, state, and county governments, making Pure Air Control Services/EDLab the reliable industry leader in IAQ.

For more information on EDLab at Pure Air Control Services, Inc. please contact Alan Wozniak at (800) 422-7873 x 802, or visit www.pureaircontrols.com.