Formaldehyde is often used in plywood, particle board, glues, and surface adhesives. It is a known carcinogen (cancer causing substance), so we simply do not use it in any of our buildings.
Most research into effects of residential exposures on respiratory health has focused on allergens, moisture/mold, endotoxin, or combustion products. A growing body of research from outside the United States, however, has associated chemical emissions from common indoor materials with risk of asthma, allergies, and pulmonary infections. Risk factors identified most frequently included formaldehyde. Higher indoor concentrations of formaldehyde or presence of particleboard were associated with the following outcomes: diagnosed asthma, chronic bronchitis, increased exhaled nitric oxide, increased wheeze, respiratory symptoms, and adverse effects on lung function.
Health and / or Social Benefits
Formaldehyde can offgas into your home for years. Unfortunately for your family’s health, formaldehyde is a known human carcinogen according to the World Health Organization; it can cause watery eyes, headaches, fatigue, and nausea. Composite wood materials that emit formaldehyde have been associated with increased risks of respiratory and allergic health effects in children. These findings point to a new class of little-recognized indoor risk factors for allergic and respiratory disease, distinct from the current set of indoor risk factors. The available evidence raises questions about many common residential practices: for instance, using pressed wood furnishings in houses for asthmatic children.
Demand for products made from safer and greener chemicals is growing rapidly. Consumers, investors and governments want chemicals that have low to no toxicity and degrade into innocuous substances in the environment. Leading businesses are capturing these emerging market opportunities by redesigning their products and catalyzing change in their supply chains. We encourage you to support public policies and industry standards that know and disclose product chemistry; assess and avoid hazards; and commit to continuous improvement, also supporting research and development for green chemistry and engineering solutions.
A healthy home—built without formaldehyde—will have a higher resell value. Increasing indoor air quality by eliminating formaldehyde products in your home reduces sickness and increases concentration and focus, allowing for more productivity and less sick days.