Posted by Cierra on July 15th, 2011
While long known to be a harmful substance, formaldehyde was officially declared by the U.S. National Toxicology Program (NTP) to be a known carcinogen on June 10th, 2011. Included in the 12th edition of the Report on Carcinogens, formaldehyde was noted to cause otherwise rare nasal, sinus, and throat cancers as well as myeloid leukemia. Formaldehyde had already been listed as “reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen” in prior editions of the report since the 1980s; its updated status to “known carcinogen” was prompted by recent examinations of occupational and animal studies on the effects of prolonged exposure to the gas.
Formaldehyde, a colorless gas with many industrial applications, can be found in furniture glues, car exhaust, plywood and particle wood, building materials, cleaning products, cosmetic chemicals, and biological preservatives, among other places. It is also released during combustion and is therefore generally present in fireplaces, stoves and ovens, smog, and tobacco smoke. Traces of the chemical have been measured in food and drinking water, and our bodies naturally produce formaldehyde in small quantities.
Posted by Ivey on December 29th, 2010
As the year draws close, most of us are reflecting on the past year and assessing what we would like to change or improve in the upcoming year. Most of the time, these changes focus on ways to be healthier and improve your quality of life, like losing weight, quitting smoking, or going to the gym more often. Instead of making the same resolutions year after year, try something new for 2011—improving the quality of your indoor air!
According to the Environment Protection Agency (EPA), indoor pollution levels can be two to five times higher than pollution levels outdoors. This increase in indoor pollution levels is even more shocking when you consider that Americans spend up to 90 percent of their time doors. The good thing about indoor air quality is that it is absolutely within your ability to dramatically improve it. Continue reading
Posted by Ivey on June 17th, 2010
A recent article in the CNN series, Toxic America, discussed five hazardous substances that most people unknowingly encounter on a daily basis. Among those substances was formaldehyde, which is particularly harmful to your indoor air quality. A colorless gas with a pungent smell, formaldehyde is a known carcinogen that can cause cancers of the respiratory and gastrointestinal tracts as well as nausea, skin irritation, watery eyes, and burning sensations in the eyes, nose, and throat.
We are often exposed to formaldehyde as a result of breathing the volatile compounds that are released from products that contain it. Unfortunately, formaldehyde exposure is an ever-present threat in most homes. The toxic substance is commonly found in resins that are used as glue during the manufacturing of pressed wood products, such as particle board, plywood, paneling, and fiberboard. It can also be found in glues and other adhesives, durable-press fabrics like drapes, car exhaust, and cigarette smoke.
Posted by John on November 9th, 2008
American Profile recently interviewed Michael Vogel, director of the Montana chapter of Healthy Indoor Air for American’s Homes. He has been offering indoor air quality advice for over 20 years.
Vogel points out that “Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote an article on the importance of fresh air and ventilation back in the 1800s” – but today, experts know much more about the risks of various pollutants. Continue reading
Posted by John on October 9th, 2008
From The Philadelphia Inquirer: Jeanine Burgin’s back started to itch in April. Then came red patches, blisters and a burning sensation.
Skin-care products only seemed to make things worse. She was in and out of hospitals, where doctors tried cortisone and other treatments – all to no avail.
“It was a mystery,” says Burgin, 69, who lives outside Paris.
Turns out the mystery was right inside her house: her new upholstered armchair. Continue reading
Posted by John on September 13th, 2008
Are you aware of the dangers lurking in your cabinets? I found an informative list of the most hazardous household chemicals at consumerlawpage.com:
Air Fresheners – Many air fresheners actually release a nerve deadening chemical agent! Others interfere with the ability to smell by coating nasal passages with an oil film. Air fresheners may include formaldehyde, a highly toxic known carcinogen, as well as phenol, an irritant that could lead to death.
Tip: Instead of air fresheners, use odor control air purifiers that will not only deodorize but also clean the air. Continue reading
Posted by John on August 24th, 2008
Even though millions of people are sensitive to certain chemicals, some members of the medical establishment have long viewed multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS) with skepticism.
At a physicians’ conference last year, one immunologist told me that MCS is “all in their heads.” At the same conference, another physician told me that he has suffered from MCS ever since medical school, when he was exposed to high levels of formaldehyde during dissections.
I know that MCS exists because I have suffered from it. When I was a child with severe allergies, my mom picked up one of my friends on the way to school every morning. My friend wore perfume (quite a bit of it), and every time she got in the car, I got a headache and started sneezing. I often had to roll down my window to avoid the chemical odor.
Even though some doctors still think it’s “all in your head,” several years ago Martin Pall, professor of biochemistry at Washington State University wrote a paper that describes mechanims of MCS. Continue reading