Potential health risks from exposure to formaldehyde are without question a valid concern. However, there are certain variables that must be considered in determining the seriousness of such risks, or if a risk exists at all. Two of the most important considerations are the level of exposure, measured in parts per million (ppm) of ambient air, and the length of exposure time.
Formaldehyde is a naturally occurring substance found at normal indoor and outdoor levels of 0.03ppm. According to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) information on indoor air quality, formaldehyde concentrations of 0.1ppm can cause minor reactions such as watery eyes, burning sensation in the eyes, nose or throat, or skin irritation. However, the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) sets guidelines for employee exposure to formaldehyde at much higher levels. OSHA describes the “action level” of formaldehyde concentration to be 0.5ppm, and dictates that no employee shall be exposed to airborne concentrations greater than 0.75ppm over a time-weighted average (TWA) of 8 hours.
Formaldehyde received a lot of media attention during the 1970s when its use in home insulation material, known as urea-formaldehyde foam insulation (UFFI), was determined to be the source of many health issues. Because of the very large area covered by home insulation, off-gassing of urea-formaldehyde (UF) was obviously extremely high. As a result, UFFI was taken off the market.
To put our everyday exposure to formaldehyde in perspective, sources include gas and wood burning stoves, kerosene heaters, vehicle exhaust, tobacco smoke, glues, paints, cleaning products, paper product coatings, cosmetics, and durable-press curtains and clothing.
Formaldehyde is also used in the adhesives of pressed-wood products used to make cabinets, shelving, furniture, and floor coverings. But because of the involvement of regulatory agencies after the UFFI fiasco, its concentration levels are now much lower and safer.
At FastFloors.com, we strive for total customer satisfaction. Not only do we want you to be satisfied with the look and ease of installation of our bamboo flooring, we want you to have peace of mind. Rest assured that our bamboo flooring is as safe as it is attractive. The formaldehyde emission from any FastFloors.com bamboo flooring is less than 0.015ppm – that’s half the normal level in the great outdoors – and even that will diminish over time.