As with most chemicals, formaldehyde is not something you can detect visually but you may notice the pungent smell it tends to give off. Formaldehyde is often used in the treatment of textiles, this means that it can be found in sofas, curtains, cushions, or other soft furnishings. It is also used in building materials like particleboard, plywood, and other pressed lumber. Fuel-burning appliances as well as various types of glue can also contain formaldehyde. This basic list highlights the likelihood that formaldehyde is present to some extent in your home.
How dangerous is formaldehyde? It is still not clear how much formaldehyde you would need to be exposed to for it to become a health risk, however, we do know that it is a cancer-causing carcinogen and can particularly affect the upper throat, so there is a cause for concern. Other symptoms associated with exposure to formaldehyde are respiratory problems and fatigue. As these are also symptoms for numerous other health problems, do not automatically assume that you are being affected by formaldehyde. Instead, consult with your doctor for a correct diagnosis.
Are there any products available that do not use formaldehyde? Yes. There are many formaldehyde-free household goods on the market today so, if you are concerned about the hazards associated with this chemical, be sure to do your research when shopping for your home furnishings and building materials.