You may have read or heard about the potential dangers of formaldehyde in our homes – how this naturally occurring colourless gas can be found in a large number of products we install and use in our houses, including paint, fabrics and certain types of flooring.
The reports are often confusing and worrying, indicating as they do that regular exposure to formaldehyde can cause irritation to the eyes, throat, skin and nose, can trigger asthma attacks and other respiratory problems and even be a principal cause of some cancers.
It is a fact that formaldehyde is a known carcinogen – that is, in high enough doses it can cause cancer. But does that mean we need to worry about what type of products we put in our homes?
How can we lessen exposure to the chemical when it seems it is to be found all around us?
What Is the Problem?
Formaldehyde is used in a huge number of products we commonly use in our homes, including paint, detergents and some furniture. Over time, these products give off the gas into the air we breathe.
It is often found in glues or resins which are used to bind wood chips or fibres into plywood, particleboard and the like and is usually used in the manufacture of laminate flooring.
If we use a lot of products in our home, especially new ones, then we may be exposing ourselves to higher levels of formaldehyde than we would get naturally, which may have detrimental effects.
Steps to Take
To limit your amount of exposure to formaldehyde, if you are buying anything new, look for versions of the product which have lower levels of the chemical.
According to the National Cancer Institute, before purchasing any pressed-wood products, buyers should ask about the formaldehyde content to make sure it is at safe levels.
In flooring, this could mean buying pre-finished solid wood floors, which have lower levels of the gas than laminate. To see what other types are available, including engineered wood flooring, contact a supplier such as http://www.ukflooringdirect.co.uk/engineered-wood-flooring.
Other steps you can take include ensuring there is good ventilation in your home, particularly after installing new flooring or furniture, banning smoking, not overheating the home and keeping humidity to a minimum.
These measures should help you breathe easier about your flooring choices.