Formaldehyde

Formaldehyde is a chemical which is, amongst other things, a carcinogen and an irritant.

In Spain alone, hundreds of thousands of tonnes of this chemical are used every year. This figure doesn’t take into account the fact that formaldehyde can also come from reactions between other chemicals e.g. the use of cleaning products. Its use has continued to increase despite the government proposing safer alternatives.

This volatile compound is one of the main pollutants found in the air inside our homes, especially in poorly ventilated areas.

Formaldehyde can be found in or emitted from various products in the home, including: fibreboard (one of the main sources of formaldehyde emission in enclosed spaces), resins, insulation foam, cleaning products, carpets, mattress fillings, anti-stain fabrics, computers, televisions, printers, games consoles, ovens, decorative lamps, hair dryers, wood, glues, wallpapers, paints, varnishes, hairspray, antiseptics, shampoos, gels, cosmetics, plastics, insecticides and vaccinations.

The more obvious symptoms of formaldehyde exposure include: irritation and watering in the eyes, nose and throat, as well as blurred vision, headaches and nausea.

Many asthma sufferers are very sensitive to this chemical.

Scientific studies have linked formaldehyde to health problems such as: adult leukaemia, allergic contact dermatitis, nasopharyngeal cancer, asthma, autoimmunity, fetotoxicity, menstrual problems, toxic porphyria, pulmonary oedema, fertility problems in women, cirrhosis, immunosuppression, laryngeal cancer, lung cancer, melanoma, nephritic syndrome and pancreatic cancer.