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New EPA Rules about Formaldehyde

Posted on June 18, 2013
by Wendy Stackhouse

Formaldehyde molecule

Formaldehyde is a known carcinogen which we are all exposed to every day. According to the California Department of Public Health, formaldehyde is used in making:

  • Chemical resins
  • Wrinkle-proof fabrics
  • Latex paints
  • Dyes
  • Plastics
  • Paper products
  • Cosmetics
It is found in:
  • Insulation materials
  • Plywood
  • Particle board
  • Adhesives
  • Glues
  • Paint primers
  • Fingernail products

Any of these materials can give off formaldehyde vapors that can make you sick.

But there is some good news! Last week the Environmental Protection Agency released new rules about how much formaldehyde can be “emitted from hardwood plywood, medium-density fiberboard, particleboard and finished goods, that are sold, supplied, offered for sale, manufactured, or imported in the United States.” A second rule requires that manufacturers be certified to be meeting formaldehyde emission standards by an accredited third-party certifier.

At AirTek, we are glad to see formaldehyde vapors being taken seriously by government regulators. What can you do to reduce your exposure to formaldehyde right now?

Choose solid wood. More expensive, solid wood does not give off the gases of pressed wood products.

Unbox outside. When your beautiful new furniture is delivered, unwrap it outside and leave it out there for a week or so to let the gases dissipate before you bring it into the nursery.

Paint early and with the windows open. You want to let the volatile organic compounds in paint come out and proceed to the outdoors before bringing any furniture, carpets or other textiles in. Anything porous can absorb the chemicals and keep them in your environment.

Get some houseplants. Here is a link to a long list of plants which actually remove formaldehyde from the air.

Formaldehyde just got easier to avoid. It’s up to us to get rid of what we’ve already got!

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