Thursday, October 21, 2010

Formaldehyde: The Next Silent Killer?

by Faith Ranoli

Formaldehyde is found in most homes in multiple applications from pressed wood products, insulation and chemicals adhering to clothing imported from other countries. The EPA studies indicate a link from formaldehyde to cancer, asthma and allergies - in people and animals.

Formaldehyde is colorless but definitely has a noticeable pungent odor causing eyes and throats to burn and eyes to water. For those who are very sensitive or have chemical sensitivities, nausea and breathing difficulties may be experienced. Chemical sensitive people experience fatigue, skin rash and other allergic reactions.

Rising temperatures, humidity and the air exchange rate can affect indoor air containing formaldehyde. As temps rise formaldehyde is released from glues, adhesives and sealants on interior plywood, particleboard, medium density fiberboard. Some paints containing preservatives, the finish on some papers, building insulation, textiles, environmental tobacco smoke and improperly vented fuel burning appliances will also cause a release of formaldehyde.

It's everywhere trapped in your home or office. For those working from home or animals that are continually in a closed office or home, the risks are greater.

So what can you do about it?

Here are some very simple tips to lower the concentration of formaldehyde in your home or office:

o Ventilate your home, open the windows and doors and air out your home daily.
o Use exterior grade pressed woods, no VOC paints and finishes.
o Inspect your fuel burring appliances for proper venting and operation.
o Use your air conditioner to lower the temps in your home during the summer.
o Install only building materials containing the American National Standards Institute stamp indicating lower or no formaldehyde levels.
o When you buy clothing, wash it before wearing it.
o Remove formaldehyde-containing products if you can and seal those that must remain with a no VOC sealant.

Tune in to Faith Ranoli's Heart And Home Radio Show Thursdays 1pm Pacific Time

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