Building materials and consumer products can emit formaldehyde. Testing indoor air quality for formaldehyde often indicates formaldehyde levels tested in the air are higher than Health Canada guidelines. Excessive levels of formaldehyde in laminate flooring and formaldehyde in hardwood flooring has recently been in the news. When formaldehyde levels are tested to be high it is known to be dangerous to human health. The glues used in laminate and hardwood flooring are known to contain and off gas formaldehyde. Through air quality testing for formaldehyde it can be determined if formaldehyde levels are too high or if formaldehyde is at safe levels.
The CBS news program 60 Minutes ran a segment on dangerous levels of formaldehyde in laminated floor. The 60 Minutes segment claimed the largest retailer of hardwood flooring in North America was selling flooring with possibly toxic levels of formaldehyde. Formaldehyde is present in the glue used to hold together the flooring. The 60 Minutes segment claimed that 30 out of 31 Chinese laminated wood samples sold by the retailer they investigated failed to meet safe level standards for formaldehyde set by the California Air Resources Board.
In Canada the HPVA, an industry association that represents some Canadian and American flooring manufacturers went into a retail stores and grabbed a sample of Chinese made flooring and claim six out of eight failed and the levels of formaldehyde were two to three times over the line.
Formaldehyde is a known to cause cancer and other ailments including skin and breathing problems. Formaldehyde is used in the manufacture of pressed wood products, furniture, adhesives, paints, wood finishes, glue and preservatives. Formaldehyde can leak out from these products in gaseous form, and be inhaled. Often people don’t smell formaldehyde even when it’s present at hazardous levels.
Children are more susceptible to formaldehyde than adults. Infants crawling on the floor can be particularly at risk. Children also breathe in more air relative to their small body sizes than adults. Symptoms from formaldehyde exposure include dry or sore throat, nosebleeds, headaches, fatigue, memory and concentration problems, nausea, dizziness, breathing problems, eye irritation and asthma attacks.
If you are concerned about formaldehyde levels in your home or office ABM Environmental can test the air quality to determine levels of formaldehyde present and compare them to Health Canada guidelines or WorkSafeBC guidelines for formaldehyde in the air. Call ABM Environmental at 604-568-5177 to arrange an assessment or see Indoor Air Quality to learn more about indoor air quality testing for formaldehyde or other contamiants. You can also complete our online assessment form to get more information on formaldehyde air quality testing.
ABM Environmental formaldehyde testing and other indoor air quality testing service areas include Abbotsford, Burnaby, Chilliwack, Coquitlam, Delta, Langley, Maple Ridge, Mission, New Westminster, North Vancouver, Pitt Meadows, Port Coquitlam, Port Moody, Richmond, Squamish, Surrey, Vancouver, West Vancouver, Whistler and White Rock.