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Environmental Health

Small amounts of formaldehyde are harmless, but can be irritating and toxic at higher concentrations. Airborne concentrations at or above 0.1 ppm can cause symptoms such as watery eyes, burning sensations in the eyes, nose and throat, nausea, coughing, chest tightness, wheezing and skin rashes. Higher concentrations may trigger asthma attacks in asthmatics. Formaldehyde has also been observed to cause cancer in laboratory animal studies and may cause cancer in humans.

People who have adverse reactions to formaldehyde may want to consider avoiding the use of pressed wood products and other formaldehyde emitting products including some textiles, paints, etc. Even if you do not experience such reactions, you may wish to reduce your exposure as much as possible by purchasing furnishings and wood products that emit less formaldehyde.