You must have heard about outdoor health hazards umpteen times? But, have you heard about indoor health hazardous elements? Did you know that your furniture can be hazardous to your health? Surprised!
Well, the reason being – the presence of formaldehyde, a chemical that is classified as carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer. Formaldehyde is also a potential sensitizer.
Short-term health effects of formaldehyde exposure
The affected person suffers from watery eyes, burning sensation in the eyes, nose, and throat; coughing, wheezing, nausea and skin irritation. These are all short-term effects. But, some affects might turn out to be serious as well.
Long-term health effects of formaldehyde exposure
Unlike the short-term effects, very less is known about the long-term health effects of formaldehyde exposure. In 1980, laboratory studies were conducted, that showed that exposure to formaldehyde could cause nasal cancer in rats. According to this study formaldehyde exposure could also cause cancer in humans. Later on, in 1987, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) classified formaldehyde as a probable human carcinogen under conditions of unusually high or prolonged exposure.
(Source: http://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/risk/substances/formaldehyde/formaldehyde-fact-sheet )
Steps to be taken to prevent formaldehyde emissions
1. Keep furniture away from heat
Since formaldehyde is a volatile organic chemical, it evaporates quickly when heated or when it comes in contact with a source of heat. When formaldehyde is exposed to direct sunlight, it turns into gas and then dissipates into air. Therefore it’s recommended to keep all composite wood items away from heat; or do not keep any furniture items anywhere near heaters, and kitchen stoves.
2. Furniture made of pressed wood can be dangerous
Pressed wood contains the most amount of formaldehyde. The reason being, the glue used for binding of wooden chips, veneer, chips, strands and fibre is a formaldehyde-based resin.
3. Seal in pressed wood furniture
Formaldehyde is part of engineered wood. It never outgasses from materials, although its effects lessen overtime. If your cabinet is made of engineered wood, then replacing it might be costly. So, the best thing to do is to seal in the formaldehyde.
4. Replace With Formaldehyde-Free Alternatives
Last but not the least, to completely get rid of formaldehyde, replace your old cabinets, wardrobe, and furniture with formaldehyde free alternatives. This includes real wood. Since wood in its real form is quite expensive and rarely found, you can consider formaldehyde-free plywood furniture.
Do not compromise with your health! Switch to formaldehyde emission free plywood. Greenply offers a wide range of products which confirms to the E ½ European Standard of Formaldehyde emission level. Safe guard your home from the emissions of formaldehyde.