Formaldehyde

What is it?
Formaldehyde is a strong-smelling, colorless gas. It is often found in many types of plywood and particleboard as well as insulation. The amount of formaldehyde that is released from these materials decreases over time. The highest rate of emission occurs when the materials are first installed in the home. 

Emission sources
  • Plywood 
  • Particleboard 
  • Insulation 
  • Combustion of tobacco smoke  
Ways to be exposed 
  • Breathing it in
  • Working where it is produced 
Health effects 
  • Trigger asthma attacks
  • Burning of nose, eyes and throat
  • Coughing 
  • Fatigue
  • May cause cancer 
  • Rash
  • Allergic reactions 
How to reduce exposure
  • Use pressed wood products that are "exterior-grade"  
  • Maintain a moderate temperature and reduce humidity by using air conditioners and dehumidifiers
  • Increase ventilation 
  • Ask about the formaldehyde content of the products you are purchasing for your home