What are Formaldehyde and VOC?

Formaldehyde is a common chemical that has a strong pickle-like odor. It is currently used in thousands of products as an adhesive, bonding agent and solvent. Formaldehyde may also be formed when other chemicals break down. Formaldehyde is classified as a volatile organic compound (VOC). VOC's are chemicals that become a gas at room temperature. As a result, products made with formaldehyde will release the gas into the air. This is called off-gassing. If high concentrations of formaldehyde are off-gassed and breathed in, it could cause health problems.

What are the health effects?

The health effects of formaldehyde exposure vary from one person to another. The most common symptoms are eye, nose and throat irritation, coughing, headaches, dizziness, and nausea. Human eyes are especially sensitive to formaldehyde. Many people describe the eye irritation as a burning sensation much like when cutting an onion or when you get soap in your eyes.

The effects of long-term exposure are not well known. Long-term exposure to high levels of formaldehyde has been shown to cause cancer. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has listed formaldehyde as a “probable human carcinogen,” while the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has classified formaldehyde as “carcinogenic to humans” based on nose and throat cancers in working populations.

How do I know if I have a formaldehyde problem?

You may want to measure the formaldehyde level in your home if you have:
1-symptoms similar to those described in the health effects section of this paper; and
2-recently purchased a new home, furniture or cabinets, or have remodeled within the past year.
Some products and construction materials may emit formaldehyde at levels above 0.10 ppm especially when they are new. Products that are a few years old have off-gassed much of their formaldehyde and usually do not pose a health threat.

How can I measure the level of formaldehyde?

The easiest way to measure formaldehyde is with a passive formaldehyde monitor. The most common guideline for acceptable formaldehyde levels is 0.10 ppm. Few people will have health problems at levels below 0.10 ppm. However, some people are sensitive to formaldehyde and may experience health effects at levels below 0.10 ppm. If you have levels of formaldehyde that exceed 0.10 ppm it is recommended that you take steps to reduce the levels by removing the source if feasible.

Are some people at greater risk from VOC exposure than others?

Persons with respiratory problems such as asthma, young children, elderly, and persons with heightened sensitivity to chemicals may be more susceptible to irritation and illness from VOCs.

  • Formaldehyde
  • Methylene chloride
  • Perchloroethylene
  • Toluene
  • Xylene
  • 1,3-butadiene

Products/Equipments TNT group used are certified as below: