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Formaldehyde in Your Living Environment

Formaldehyde is a chemical used in some building materials and household products like flooring, furniture, and fabric. There are small amounts of formaldehyde in nearly all homes. 

Formaldehyde levels are higher in

  • Homes with smokers. Tobacco smoke contains formaldehyde. If someone in your home smokes tobacco products, the smoke may be the greatest source of formaldehyde in your home.

  • Homes with new products or new construction. Formaldehyde levels are higher in newly manufactured wood products such as flooring and furniture. Formaldehyde can also be found in some fabrics.

New products that often contain high levels of formaldehyde include

  • Some manufactured wood products such as cabinets, furniture, plywood, particleboard, and laminate flooring

  • Permanent press fabrics (like those used for curtains and drapes or on furniture)

  • Household products such as glues, paints, caulks, pesticides, cosmetics, and detergents. 


How can formaldehyde in my home affect my health?

Some people have breathing problems or irritation of the eyes, nose, throat, or skin from formaldehyde exposure in their homes.


These health effects can happen in anyone, but children, older adults, and people with asthma and other breathing problems are more likely to have these symptoms. If you or someone in your home has these symptoms, follow the steps to reduce indoor formaldehyde levels. 


Breathing in very high levels of formaldehyde over many years has been linked to cancers.


Coming into contact with (breathing in or touching) formaldehyde may affect your health. Protect your health by reducing the levels of formaldehyde in your home.

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