Formaldehyde Exposure Risks on Public’s Mind after “60 Minutes” Report
Certified Industrial Hygienists® are uniquely qualified to identify and address exposure risks due to formaldehyde and other potentially hazardous chemicals.
Many people are now concerned after watching the broadcast and CIHs are exceptionally qualified to handle these concerns due to their knowledge of chemical hazards, engineering controls, ventilation, work environments and industrial processes, and air sampling and instrumentational analysis.
On March 1st, “60 Minutes” broadcast a report about high levels of formaldehyde found in some Chinese-made laminate flooring sold by one of the nation’s largest flooring retailers. According to the broadcast, more than 100 million square feet of the product is installed in the United States each year. While much of the flooring goes into residential properties, this same flooring is also likely found in some commercial and institutional properties.
The television program reported that 150 boxes of laminate wood flooring, purchased at multiple locations across California, were tested and found to have from 6 to 7 times the state standard for formaldehyde even though the packaging was labeled as being CARB Phase 2 Compliant. The California Air Resources Board (CARB) sets standards for the amount of formaldehyde emissions that can come from flooring and other materials sold in the state. Another 31 boxes were then tested by the show that came from retail outlets in five additional states. Those products were tested and all but one sample were found to be above the formaldehyde limits regulated in California.
Formaldehyde is a chemical widely used by industry to produce other chemicals, primarily in the production of resins and as a chemical intermediate. It can be found in some building materials that contain products such as hardwood plywood (HWPW), particleboard (PB) and medium density fiberboard (MDF). If a product that contains formaldehyde, such as laminate wood flooring, is installed into an indoor environment, it will release formaldehyde gas into the enclosed space in most circumstances.
“The use of significant quantities of formaldehyde in some flooring materials could expose people to elevated levels of this known carcinogen and irritant,” said Nicole Greeson, CIH® and Chair of ABIH®. “Many people are now concerned after watching the broadcast and CIHs are exceptionally qualified to handle these concerns due to their knowledge of chemical hazards, engineering controls, ventilation, work environments and industrial processes, and air sampling and instrumentational analysis.”
To learn more about the American Board of Industrial Hygiene®, Certified Industrial Hygienist® credential or to locate a CIH® to perform industrial hygiene services, please visit www.ABIH.org, email abih@ABIH.org or call (517) 321-2638.
About the American Board of Industrial Hygiene ®
Since 1960, ABIH®, a not-for-profit corporation, has been the world’s largest, premier organization for certifying professionals in the practice of industrial hygiene. ABIH® is responsible for ensuring high-quality certification including education, experience, examination, certification maintenance and ethics enforcement. Currently, more than 6800 people are certified to use the CIH® designation.
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