What is Formaldehyde

For those who do not know, Formaldehyde (HCHO), also called methanal, is a colourless, flammable and volatile chemical compound obtained by the simple catalytic oxidation of methyl alcohol. This volatile organic compound is constantly used in chemical industries, thus resulting in products for daily use. Examples of these are medicines, personal hygiene products, cleaning products, cosmetic products, furniture, plywood and boards, among others. And did you know that the activated carbon filter in air purifiers helps elimination Formaldehyde?

The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) provides relevant information on Formaldehyde and recommendations to avoid exposure to Formaldehyde.

Negative effects

What is worrying is the ignorance in the population about the risk of those who are subjected to high levels of this chemical that is commonly used in many industries and therefore, in everyday products.  Thus, in 2014, the European Commission declared Formaldehyde to be a carcinogen by means of European Union Regulation no. 605/2014.

This document supports the decision on the basis of animal studies, which showed that the use of this chemical component is a carcinogenic cause. The official regulation has generated a far-reaching impact on those industries that use formaldehyde in their processes and raw materials.

By regulation 605/2014, HCHO was classified in group 2A as “probably carcinogenic to humans” and is based on “suspicion”. Formaldehyde has been re-classified to an even more serious status, 1B, defining it as a substance “carcinogenic to humans with a danger of causing cancer, mutagenic and genetic defects”. This indicates the seriousness for those who are highly exposed to the chemical.

Population problems

The big problem with this chemical is the high use it is given in most industries such as paper manufacturing, plywood, fertiliser manufacturing, cosmetics and sugar. It has also been used as a preservative for cereals, in leather tanning, to preserve wood and in the production of photographic tape, among others.

Reality has shown that workers exposed to high levels of formaldehyde in industries have suffered from uncommon cancers such as nasal cavity, nasopharyngeal, sinus and myeloid leukaemia.

What is even more serious is how exposed the population is on a daily basis, as HCHO ends up in many everyday products. Some of these are fabric softeners, varnishes, paper towels, grocery bags, nail polish, disinfectants, clothing, among others.

Precautions

Fortunately, many international organisations have established regulatory guidelines on the use of this component.

It is recommended that, for low levels in households, enclosed spaces should be ventilated on a daily basis to avoid concentrations of harmful particles in the air.

In industries, it is required that those who subject their employees to enclosed spaces with high levels of HCHO implement the necessary measures to ensure a clean air space free of pollutants.

These measures include using air purifiers with activated carbon filters capable of evacuating carcinogens from the environment, using high-tech meters that can assess the level of air exposure to carcinogens and installing emergency safety devices in case of high formaldehyde exposure.

Air purifiers, the best solution

A highly efficient option are the air purifiers offered by AIR8, which minimize the exposure risk to formaldehyde in enclosed spaces through activated carbon filters. These devices are considered as high-technological quality since they guarantee a high filtration of airborne particles disseminated in the environment, including harmful microparticles such as formaldehyde. These purifiers work through different layers of filters that filters down to 0.1 microns, being of high technological range in the air purifier market.

AIR8 purifiers guarantee a safe environment from pollution. It is the most effective way to take measures to protect respiratory health.