How dangerous exposure to formaldehyde is for the body: what you need to know

The smell of fresh paint and the smell of unpacking new pieces of furniture are considered important indicators of the fact that a chemical has been released into the air. One of these substances is formaldehyde, a volatile organic compound whose presence in the air in the house is considered by specialists to be dangerous to health.

Being 500 times smaller than 0.1 micron particles, formaldehyde particles in the air are difficult to capture, and if inhaled, they cause symptoms such as eye irritation, runny nose, nasal inflammation or cough. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (USA), formaldehyde is present in almost every home, no matter how much.

However, prolonged exposure to this chemical compound harmful to the body is much more dangerous, especially in new homes or where renovations take place over a longer period. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has confirmed the carcinogenic effects of prolonged exposure to formaldehyde, including the possibility of developing cancers, such as nasopharynx, sinus cancer or leukemia.

What specialists recommend for removing formaldehyde particles from the inside

Formaldehyde is a colorless gas that finds its way into the home through a variety of sources. Most commonly, it is released through furniture and wood products, such as plywood and fiberboard, which can use industrial resins based on formaldehyde. It can also be found in insulating materials and DIY products, such as paint, varnishes and household cleaning products.

Research has shown that high room temperature and humidity contribute to the frequency of formaldehyde particles released into the air in the house. Indoor formaldehyde concentrations can be up to 20 times higher in summer than in winter, depending on indoor temperature and humidity conditions. Beyond formaldehyde, high temperatures and humidity encourage the growth of mites, which contribute to the formation of dust particles, another source of allergens that can cause allergies.

Because exposure to formaldehyde is harmful to the human body and is a concern for research and regulatory bodies, scientists at Dyson offer some helpful tips for removing formaldehyde particles from the inside and creating a healthier home environment.

Smart choice of home furniture

If home renovation or new furniture is planned in the near future, choosing low-formaldehyde products or buying second-hand furniture are useful solutions to avoid formaldehyde exposure, according to Dyson experts. Such products release fewer formaldehyde particles over time, while furniture type ULEF (with very low formaldehyde emissions) and NAF (without added formaldehyde) is increasingly sought after. If the purchase of new furniture is necessary, the options include solid wood or fully sealed pressed wood (MDF) furniture.

Use of a high-performance air purifier

Increasing ventilation and using a smart home air purifier can help eliminate harmful gases from the air, especially if the devices are high-performance. Dyson experts have integrated innovative technology into the latest range of air purifiers, which detects formaldehyde with the help of an intelligent solid-state sensor that continuously destroys it. A catalytic filter captures and converts formaldehyde into water and CO2, without the need for replacement for the life of the device. This innovative technology accurately detects formaldehyde particles, without confusing them with other organic compounds in the air.

Exposure to formaldehyde in the human body is dangerous and can have severe effects on long-term health. Since 2010, the World Health Organization has regulated the limits on the concentrations of formaldehyde in the air at 0.1 mg / m3, a polluting gas that is among the most present pollutants inside.

PHOTO: unsplash.com

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