A naturally occurring compound, formaldehyde, is probably lurking throughout your home. That’s because it’s used in a wide variety of building and other materials—pressed wood, particleboard, cabinets, varnishes and fabrics, to name a few examples. But it’s also highly volatile and researchers have tied its off-gasses, the term for volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and other chemicals given off by a manufactured product or material, to many illnesses, from sore throats to asthma. In 2011, the US National Toxicology Program described formaldehyde as “known to be a human carcinogen.”
The European Union has banned the use of formaldehyde as a biocide; that’s defined in European legislation as a chemical substance or microorganism intended to destroy, deter, render harmless or exert a controlling effect on any harmful organism by chemical or biological means.
Formaldehyde levels rise with increases in temperature and humidity.
The three products that emit the highest concentrations of formaldehyde are medium density fibreboard, hardwood plywood and particleboard.
Try to keep the temperature inside your home in the lowest comfortable setting.
Spend as much time outdoors in the fresh air as possible.
Use a smart air purifier with a HEPA filter, like Coway Airmega, that can help eliminate harmful gasses and particles from the air.