Formaldehyde is a type of volatile organic compound that is known to be a human carcinogen. It is commonly used in building materials, especially those using engineered wood. Cabinets, low-cost furniture, and anything made with particleboard are all at risk for elevated formaldehyde. Laminate flooring is particularly prone to off-gassing formaldehyde. Call Indoor Science today at (312) 920-9393 to set up formaldehyde testing.
Formaldehyde in Flooring
Interest in formaldehyde increased a few years ago when the TV program 60 Minutes reported that flooring superstore Lumber Liquidators was producing and selling laminate wood flooring with elevated formaldehyde. To make matters worse, the product was advertised as being compliant with Phase 2 of the California Air Resources Board (CARB) regulation “California 93120 Compliant for Formaldehyde”. In order to comply with CARB Phase 2, wood flooring made with MDF (medium-density fiberboard) needs to have formaldehyde emissions under 0.11 ppm (parts per million). Formaldehyde is used in the glues which hold the fiberboard “core” of laminate flooring together. 60 Minutes reported that only 1 out of 31 samples of Lumber Liquidators’ flooring from 5 states was CARB Phase 2 compliant. Some samples were over 20x the limit!
Here is a video that describes more information about formaldehyde in flooring:
Other Sources of Formaldehyde
Formaldehyde can come from other sources as well. It can be found in paints, insulation, paper products, and cigarette smoke. Exposure to formaldehyde can cause symptoms such as nosebleeds, cough, itchy eyes, and sore throat. People with asthma, bronchitis, or are pregnant can be more at risk for effects from formaldehyde.
There are a few different methods for formaldehyde testing. We have an instrument that can run a 30-minute sample and provide a concentration upon completion. We can also perform laboratory-based samples using DNPH tubes with HPLC/UV analysis. Laboratory-based methods are more expensive but considered to be more legally-defensible.
Call Indoor Science today at (312) 920-9393 to describe your interest in formaldehyde testing. Once we learn more about your project, we can provide you with a quote over the phone. Pricing is dependent on the number of samples we collect and the methods used.