Formaldehyde is an important chemical widely used in industry to manufacture building materials and numerous household products. (Source: Environment Protection Agency)
What are the potential sources and how can we reduce its emission into our homes thereby providing better air quality?
In homes, sources are found in building materials, cigarette smoke, household products as well as from inadequate ventilation when using some household appliances. It is used in permanent press fabric for window treatments, as a component in glues and adhesives and also as a preservative in some paints and coating products.
The EPA says that the most significant sources are likely to be pressed wood products made using adhesives that contain urea-formaldehyde resins. Here are a few examples of how pressed wood is used in the home.
Bottom line, ask the vendor when ordering your cabinetry about the material they utilize to make them. Request environmentally responsable building materials and have it in writing on your contract.
Chemicals' emissions will generally diminish over time, but when the product is new, the higher the temperature and humidity, the higher the rate of this chemical's emission.
My daughter has asthma, but at a young age it was controlled with a three year long treatment. Last summer she bought a new condo where all the bathroom and kitchen cabinets were made from regular melamine. Ceramic tiles and flooring as well as certain panels were installed with glues and adhesives from unknown sources.
She has since needed to resume using medication for her asthma. Could this just be a coincidence?
According to the EPA, one solution would be to use exterior-grade pressed wood because it contains phenol resins which produce considerably lower emissions than urea resins.
Use an air conditioner and a dehumidifier to maintain a moderate temperature and reduce humidity.