What is Formaldehyde allergy & the symptoms.
Formaldehyde is a gas with a readily noticeable odor.
It’s a colorless chemical compound that has many similarities to VOCs or volatile organic compounds.
However, formaldehyde is not strictly classified as such. Formaldehyde has many other popular names like methylaldehyde, oxomethane & methylene oxide.
This gas is a common component of many common materials in the workplace and in homes.
Signs & symptoms of formaldehyde allergy
When the concentrations of formaldehyde high enough in the air, humans might experience signs and symptoms such as eye, nose & throat irritation.
There are some other more severe symptoms too such as fatigue, headache, and dizziness.
However, these symptoms are similar to exposure to other chemicals or due to some medical conditions. Therefore, it is recommended to seek a medical attention to know the exact cause of such symptoms.
Moreover, according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, formaldehyde is a probable carcinogen in human beings. In laboratory studies, this chemical has been shown to cause cancer in lab animals.
Formaldehyde allergy testing to ascertain exposure
There are no tests to immediately determine formaldehyde exposure. In addition, there are also no medical tests in existence to ascertain for sure whether a health condition may be attributed to formaldehyde exposure. It is reported that workers exposed formaldehyde show symptoms of formaldehyde allergy contact dermatitis. There does not appear to a formaldehyde allergy treatment, simply avoidance of the product to reduce or eliminate exposure.
Main sources of formaldehyde
Every day, the human body secretes very small, harmless amounts of formaldehyde.
Where is formaldehyde found
The presence of product that increases the likelihood of formaldehyde allergy in the air at home and in commercial buildings are due to the following:
• Tobacco products such as cigarettes
• Fabrics used in drapes & furniture
• Insulation materials (certain types only)
• Cleaning products used in residences
• Paints and coating used on walls and ceilings
• Adhesives and glues such as the types found in paneling, plywood, particleboard, fibreboard, and other pressed wood products
• Fuel used for heating & cooking (e.g. kitchen stoves, kerosene heaters, wooden stoves)
• Exhaust from cars without catalytic converters
• Porous products (e.g. carpets and sheetrock) that absorb the chemical from other sources in areas with high moisture and temperature
The point is we are all exposed to small amounts of formaldehyde since the air which we breathe both inside and outside our homes contain this colorless chemical.
In urban cities, the outside air has higher concentrations of formaldehyde than in areas with lower population density.
When it comes to indoor air versus outdoor air concentration, indoor air (homes, workplace) have higher amounts than air in the outside. Mobile homes and houses which are less than a year old are the ones with the highest indoor air concentration.
Factors that contribute to the amount/concentration of formaldehyde allergy at homes
- not enough ventilation inside the home or workplace, there is a tendency for formaldehyde and air pollutants to accumulate.They can reach concentration levels that may cause symptoms.
- insulation and weatherproofing materials in sealed buildings which are designed without air circulation and exchange may contribute to increased formaldehyde levels in the inside air.
The build-up of this potentially noxious chemical, as well as other pollutants in the air, is further enhanced with an increase in room temperature & moisture content in the air. It is important to identify whether there are formaldehyde-containing products inside the home in order for the residents to know the levels of exposure that they are subjected to.