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Common Sources of Formaldehyde in the Home and Ways to Prevent Exposure Risks

The indoor environmental quality professionals at Clark Seif Clark (CSC) provide consulting and testing services to identify exposure risks to formaldehyde and other chemical and microbial pollutants.

Chatsworth, CA – WEBWIRE

In addition to the long-term risk of cancer, the health effects of overexposure to formaldehyde can include nose, throat and eye irritation as well as labored breathing and wheezing.

The National Toxicology Program (NTP) has listed formaldehyde as known to be a human carcinogen. The National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) reports that studies of workers exposed to high levels of formaldehyde, such as industrial workers and embalmers, have found that formaldehyde causes myeloid leukemia and rare cancers, including cancers of the paranasal sinuses, nasal cavity and nasopharynx.
Unfortunately, the widespread use of formaldehyde also means that people may be exposed to this chemical in their own homes due to its use in so many products found in the typical home. According to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), while there are small amounts of formaldehyde in nearly all homes, levels are higher in:

  • Homes with smokers. Tobacco smoke contains formaldehyde. If someone in the home smokes tobacco products, the smoke may be the greatest source of formaldehyde in the home.
  • Homes with new products or new construction. Formaldehyde levels are higher in various new manufactured wood products.

New products listed by ATSDR that often contain high levels of formaldehyde include:

  • Some manufactured wood products such as cabinets, furniture, plywood, particleboard and laminate flooring.
  • Permanent press fabrics (like those used for curtains and drapes or on furniture).
  • Household products such as glues, paints, caulks, pesticides, cosmetics and detergents.

“It is important to limit exposure to formaldehyde and other pollutants in the indoor environment,” said Derrick A. Denis, Vice President of Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ) for Clark Seif Clark. “In addition to the long-term risk of cancer, the health effects of overexposure to formaldehyde can include nose, throat and eye irritation as well as labored breathing and wheezing. Sensitive individuals may also experience fatigue, headache or nausea. Formaldehyde can even trigger asthma symptoms in some asthmatics. At CSC we offer consulting services and air testing for formaldehyde off-gassing from products and materials, or from other sources. If an issue is found, our professionals provide guidance for eliminating or mitigating these risks.”
CSC has also recently sponsored an educational video about formaldehyde in the home that can be seen at:
To learn more about this or other building science, environmental, industrial hygiene, indoor air quality, health and safety services, please visit, email or call (800) 807-1118. 
About Clark Seif Clark
CSC was established in 1989 to help clients in both public and private sectors address indoor air quality, occupational, environmental, and health and safety (EH&S) issues.  CSC is a leading provider of these services with multiple offices along the western seaboard and southwest. The company believes in science-based protocols and has a strong background in engineering, making them the preferred environmental consultants to industrial clients, healthcare facilities, architects, schools, builders, contractors, developers and real estate professionals.

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