Formaldehyde is a gas that is ubiquitous in the world, especially indoors. It belongs to a group of chemicals called Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). It is emitted by many household products such as cabinets, furniture, and upholstery, laminates, particle boards, plywood, permanent press fabrics (curtains), wallpapers and paints, glues, detergents, and cleaning products.
Many consumer products release formaldehyde into the air for up to 10 years after their production. This is called Off-gassing. Formaldehyde can cause many health issues, including cancers of the upper respiratory tract. Ventilating a room removes formaldehyde from the indoor air but if the room is air-conditioned, the gas stays in the air for a long time.
One needs to use a good-quality air purifier to remove formaldehyde. It needs an activated charcoal filter, with substantial carbon content. Many air purifiers that are good at removing dust particles lack the capacity to remove formaldehyde in adequate quantity.
Here is my short video on the subject.
To read more:
- WHO: WHO Guidelines for Indoor Air Quality: Formaldehyde (technical)
- Chemical Reviews: Formaldehyde in the Indoor Environment (technical)
- CDC: Formaldehyde in Your Home: What You Need to Know (non-technical)
- American Cancer Society: Formaldehyde and Cancer (non-technical)
- On this website: Indoor Air Pollution: An Overview (non-technical)
First Published on: 27th November 2021
Image Credit: Max Vakhtbovych on Pexels