We have discussed several pollutant that affect the indoor air and for today, we will discuss formaldehyde. Formaldehyde is a common chemical that can be found in the household and offices. The chemical can be found in carpets, upholstery, glues, markers, and paints. Since it is a colorless gas, it has been classified as a probable human carcinogen by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Since this gas can be found in places where individuals spend 90% of their time indoors the EPA took action and came up with two standards. These standards are meant to protect individuals from being exposed to this gas. A few months ago, the EPA proposed two rules to protect the public from this colorless gas.
The first proposed rule would limit how much formaldehyde may be emitted from sources like hardwood plywood, fiberboard and finished goods that are sold, supplied, manufactured and imported in the United States. The second rule would establish a verification or a certification so that manufactures meet the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). This rule will ensure that formaldehyde emission standards are being met and manufactures that sell wood products are being certified. This process will be accredited through a third party certifier. In order to personally reduce exposure the EPA advices three steps to take.
- Use “exterior-grade” pressed wood products (lower-emitting because they contain phenol resins, not urea resins).
- Use air conditioning and dehumidifiers to maintain moderate temperature and reduce humidity levels.
- Increase ventilation, particularly after bringing new sources of formaldehyde into the home.
If you need assistance in improving your indoor air quality, AirTek provides commercial and residential air duct cleaning and indoor air quality services. You may contact your local AirTek Office for additional information on the services we provide.