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. Testing your home is the only way to determine the levels in your home – get your home tested now.
How can I know if my home has unhealthy formaldehyde levels?
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 new 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. See the Household Products Database for specific products containing formaldehyde
Homes built after 1990. Newer homes are better insulated, so less air is moving into and out of the home. Less air movement can cause formaldehyde to stay in the home’s air longer.
Formaldehyde is also found in gas stoves, open fireplaces, and outdoor air pollution.
How can I lower levels of formaldehyde in my home?
- The levels reduce over time. Most formaldehyde is released by 2 years.
Reduce formaldehyde already in the home.
- Open windows for a few minutes every few days to let in fresh air — unless you have asthma triggered by outdoor air pollution or pollen or you’re concerned about safety.
- Install and use exhaust fans as much as possible.
- Keep the temperature and humidity inside your home at the lowest comfortable setting.
- Make your home smoke free. Don’t allow anyone to smoke in your home.
Choose home products with low or no formaldehyde for future purchases. Look for
- Furniture, wood cabinetry, or flooring made without urea-formaldehyde (UF) glues
- Pressed-wood products that meet ultra-low emitting formaldehyde (ULEF) or no added formaldehyde (NAF) requirements
- Products labeled “No VOC/Low VOC” (volatile organic compound)
- Insulation that does not have UF foam
Reduce formaldehyde from new products.
- Wash permanent-press clothing and curtains before using them.
- Let new products release formaldehyde outside of your living space before you install or use them inside, for example in a garage or on a patio. If possible, keep them out of your living space until you can no longer smell a chemical odor.
Note: Air filters generally don’t help lower levels of formaldehyde in your home. Overheating your home to “bake” out the formaldehyde also doesn’t work and may even raise formaldehyde levels.