Health effects of formaldehyde exposure
Health Canada studies have consistently found that exposure to formaldehyde has major toxic effects on human health, specifically respiratory health.
Here are just a few acute, short-term and long-term effects of exposure to formaldehyde via inhalation:
- Irritation of the eyes, nose and throat
- Coughing and wheezing
- Chest pains
- Worsening of asthma in children
- Skin irritation
The ingestion of formaldehyde can lead to corrosion of the gastrointestinal tract as well as inflammation and ulceration of the mouth, stomach and esophagus.
Some people are more sensitive to formaldehyde than others. The severity of the symptoms depends on the level of formaldehyde you’re exposed to, the duration of exposure and the method of exposure (inhalation, ingestion, skin contact…).
Health Canada: Residential Indoor Air Quality Guidelines
Low levels of formaldehyde in indoor and outdoor air are actually quite common. Numerous Health Canada studies of homes across Canada, including Ottawa, have revealed that the average formaldehyde concentrations in Canadian homes range between 30 and 40 µg/m3.
(Keep in mind that higher levels have been found in new manufactured or mobile homes than in older conventional homes.)
The concentration of formaldehyde indoors usually depends on the number of formaldehyde sources in the home. Higher temperatures and humidity tend to increase formaldehyde levels because of off-gassing of household products. Poor ventilation also contributes to higher concentrations of formaldehyde because of the lack of fresh air coming in from the outdoors.
Keep your home safe. Get a formaldehyde test if you have any suspicion that your indoor air quality is at risk. Chances are that by time you notice an odour, formaldehyde levels are already too high. Call Mold Busters to book your formaldehyde test—it’s simple, quick and gives you peace of mind.