By Doug Berger
It’s August, and that means heat, humidity, tall corn and state fairs. Ever since the Lumber Liquidators story first hit the news in March (if you missed it, you can read our blog regarding this story), Formaldehyde awareness has grown, but little has been said about how Formaldehyde levels can increase during the summer.
Summer weather causes us to release chemicals (I suppose we should call it what it is: sweat), it also causes materials in our home release chemicals. Specifically, Formaldehyde. Formaldehyde is water soluble, and sensitive to temperature changes, so when August’s hot, humid weather shows up, the amount of formaldehyde released in your home increases. Ventilation is key to keeping formaldehyde levels low all year round, but especially in the summer. Running your air conditioner to keep the indoor humidity down and the temperature comfortable will reduce the risk of formaldehyde build up due to temperature and humidity. Another option, if air conditioning is not possible (or perhaps you just prefer fresh air) is to open your windows as much as possible and use fans to circulate the fresh air through the house.
According to the CDC, symptoms of Formaldehyde exposure include sore throat, cough, scratchy eyes or nosebleeds. Many people suffer from summer allergies, and the symptoms can often be similar to those associated with Formaldehyde exposure, which means some people might not realize they are breathing in higher levels of Formaldehyde.
If you are concerned about the possibility of increased formaldehyde in your home, you can obtain a home testing kit very easily. Although those results cannot tell you how much formaldehyde is in the material itself, it can give you a gauge of the formaldehyde levels in the air. If you discover your home contains high levels of formaldehyde, you can send a portion of the material to an accredited test lab to see if the higher levels are due to weather, or if the material itself is the culprit.
NTA is an IAS Accredited Testing Laboratory staffed with technicians and engineers who are experts in Formaldehyde Testing. NTA is CARB (California Air Resources Board) approved to provide Formaldehyde testing.