Monitoring the Level of Formaldehyde


Also known as HCHO, formaldehyde is a chemical that compounds hydrogen, oxygen, and carbon. It can be found in all living things. This chemical can be irritant in skin, eyes, nose and throat. However, it is an extensive regulated material, governments regulations implement standards to protect human health and the environment. This chemical is used to a wide range of valued- added products. Formaldehyde also occurs naturally in the environment. It is produced in small amounts by most living organisms as part of normal metabolic processes. 

Categories of formaldehyde regulated by (NESHAP) :

Plywood and composite wood products, Vehicle emissions, Wet formed ,fiber glass mat production, Mineral wool production, Wool fiberglass manufacturing, Manufacture of amino/phenolic resins, Wood, furniture manufacturing operations, Rubber tire manufacturing, Natural gas transmission and storage facilities, Synthetic organic chemical manufacturing industry, Organic liquid distribution operations, Taconite iron ore processing, Emissions for polyvinyl chloride and copolymers production, Oil and natural gas production facilities . Source: United States Environmental protection Agency.

The HCHO levels in typical homes are below 0.1ppm – well below the threshold that triggers irritation in most people. But newly built homes usually has a higher level of formaldehyde, even though the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) have extensively evaluated and controlled the level of formaldehyde exposure.

As a very first step to monitor the level of formaldehyde is to acquire a detector, these devices are incorporated with a laser sensor to measure levels of dust particles and has a second electrochemical semiconductor sensor to measure formaldehyde and natural/synthetic organic compound levels. From that we star taking some actions such as:

Steps to lower the level of formaldehyde at home:

  • Use a HCHO meter to detect the chemical
  • Utilize air purifiers
  • Adequate ventilation
  • Make good use exhaust fans
  • Control the temperature and humidity indoors
  • Implement a no smoke policy at home
  • Make sure to select products with low or no formaldehyde for future purchases. Keep your chimney and wood burning objects clean
  • Before purchasing pressed-wood products, including building materials, cabinetry, and furniture, buyers should ask about the formaldehyde content of these products
  • Reduce humidity levels through the use of air conditioners and dehumidifiers.


Where to find more information:

The EPA offers information about the use of formaldehyde in building materials and household products. The EPA can be contacted at:

Environmental Protection Agency
Office of Radiation and Indoor Air
Indoor Environments Division
Mail Code 6609J
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW.
Washington, DC 20460
202–554–1404(EPA Toxic Substance Control Act (TCSA) Assistance Line)

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has information about household products that contain formaldehyde. CPSC can be contacted at:

     U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission
4330 East West Highway
Bethesda, MD 20814
1–800–638–2772 (1–800–638–CPSC)
301–595–7054 (TTY)

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) maintains information about cosmetics and drugs that contain formaldehyde. FDA can be contacted at:

U.S. Food and Drug Administration
10903 New Hampshire Avenue
Silver Spring, MD 20993–0002
1–888–463–6332 (1–888–INFO–FDA)

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has information about formaldehyde exposure levels in mobile homes and trailers supplied by FEMA after Hurricane Katrina. FEMA can be contacted at:

Federal Emergency Management Agency
Post Office Box 10055
Hyattsville, MD 20782–7055
1–800–621–3362 (1–800–621–FEMA)

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has information about occupational exposure limits for formaldehyde. OSHA can be contacted at:

U.S. Department of Labor
Occupational Safety and Health Administration
200 Constitution Avenue
Washington, DC 20210
1–800–321–6742 (1–800–321–OSHA)



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