Monday, July 22, 2013

How Safe is Formaldehyde in our Buildings and Homes?

How Safe is Formaldehyde in our Buildings and Homes?

Formaldehyde:
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.
- See more at: http://www.transworldnews.com/NewsStory.aspx?id=1383403&sthash.AuWSJuTB.PV8HLM98.uxfs.mjjo#sthash.AuWSJuTB.WVUbW4K5.dpuf