What can be done to reduce the formaldehyde level?
To minimize formaldehyde, ensure that combustion sources are properly maintained and vented outdoors. Avoid smoking indoors.
If you are sensitive to formaldehyde, try to avoid products that contain formaldehyde. Durable press fabrics can contain formaldehyde. Wash the fabric before use.
If you purchase products made of composite wood, you may be able to purchase a floor model where the chemicals, including formaldehyde, have already off-gassed.
Other methods to lower the level of formaldehyde in a home include:
- Allow products to off-gas: Before bringing any formaldehyde-containing products into your home, allow them to off-gas outside the home. Leave the new products in your garage or ask the manufacturer to leave the product unsealed in the warehouse for a few days.
- Ventilate: By increasing ventilation you can lower the concentration of formaldehyde. This may be accomplished by opening windows or bringing in fresh air through a central ventilation system. Fans can be used to circulate the fresh air.
- Control the climate: Formaldehyde is water soluble and reacts to temperature changes. This means that as the temperature and humidity go up so does the amount of formaldehyde released from a product. By keeping the temperature and humidity low, you can decrease the amount of formaldehyde off-gassing into the air.
Finally, another less preferable technique is sealing the source of formaldehyde. Formaldehyde containing products may be sealed by using airtight sealers such as oil based paint, polyurethane varnish, shellac, vinyl wallpaper or special sealers. This technique has been used with limited success when there are large areas of exposed pressed-wood products such as those found in cabinets and shelving. This method is less preferable than those listed above because more new chemicals are introduced into the indoor environment.