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3 Common Formaldehyde's Affecting Your Indoor Air Quality and Health Pt. 1

Updated: Aug 4, 2019

When so many of us think of formaldehyde in our products, it comes to mind that wood products are engineered or pressed. These are all the big hitters because they actually contain formaldehyde in the resins used to hold the wood pieces together. All these products use three types of resins-urea-formaldehyde, phenol-formaldehyde or melamine-formaldehyde.

We will go into more details about each of these 3 formaldehyde types later on, for now lets continue on learning about other formaldehyde products affecting our indoor air quality and healthy.

In addition to wood products, many other glues and adhesives actually contain formaldehyde that improves the bonding properties. In actuality, almost any product used to combine two or more components can contain formaldehyde, such as caulk, grout, contact cement, spackle, silicone caulk, sealer and epoxy.

Paints and sealants often indicate the presence the the the of formaldehyde, which is mainly used to inhibit the growth of microorganisms that can also change the paint's properties and cause malodors or odors. Furthermore, if you see "anti-" on a label, e.g. anti-microbial, there is probably formaldehyde or a chemical releasing formaldehyde.

Household products such as shampoos and lotions, soaps and detergents often indicate the presence of formaldehyde in order to extend the product's life. Nail products may actually contain more formaldehyde because they are used as a strengthening agent and help prevent cracking. Now many pet care products also typically contain formaldehyde, such as fleas and ticks, to help eliminate pet "riders."

Now let's go back to the 3 reasons why were here.

1. Urea-formaldehyde resins are being used in adhesives, finishes, particle boards, fiberboard's of medium density (MDF) and moulded objects. This resin was also used in foam insulation (UFFI) and is usually found in homes built before the 1970s, mostly in basements, crawl spaces, attics and unfinished attics, but was also largely discontinued when the high formaldehyde emissions became known.

2. Melamine-formaldehyde is generally used in high-pressure laminates and is simply called melamine when pasted on the particle board which is used in many furniture products and cabinets ready to be assembled. Also in acoustic insulation and as abrasive cleaners, such as Magic Eraser ® sponges, melamine foam products are most often used. It is tighter than urea-formaldehyde resins, so the formaldehyde is much lower in odor emissions.

3. Phenol-formaldehyde in the production of moulded products, laboratory bench-tops and as coatings and adhesives, phenol-formaldehyde resins are used. Their weather resistance makes them a primary choice for exterior building materials and products. They tend to change the color of the wood so that indoor applications are less common, but lower formaldehyde emissions have increased their use.

Hope this helps and looking forward to Part 2 of "3 Common Formaldehyde's Affecting Your Indoor Air Quality and Health"


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