Formaldehyde

Formaldehyde is a chemical used to bind together commercial fiberglass and mineral wool batt insulation.

How can this chemical affect my health?

Acute (Short Term) Effects

icon_toxic-orange.pngToxic to Humans & Animals – Can be fatal on contact, ingestion or inhalation for humans and other mammals.

eye-orange.pngIrritates the Eyes – Can cause irritation or serious damage to the eye.

corrosive-orange.pngIrritates the Skin – Can cause irritation or serious damage to the skin.

 

Chronic (Long Term) Effects

cancer-red.pngCancer – Can cause or increase the risk of cancer.

dna-orange.pngGene Damage – Can cause or increase the rate of mutations, which are changes in genetic material in cells.

asthma-orange.pngAsthma Trigger – Can result in high sensitivity so that small quantities trigger asthma, nose or sinus inflammation or other allergic reactions in the respiratory system.

corrosive-orange.pngSensitizes the Skin – Can lead to allergic reactions on the skin.

pregnancy-yellow.pngBirth Defects – Can cause harm to the developing child including birth defects, low birth weight and biological or behavioral problems that appear as the child grows.

pbt-gray.pngPBT (Persistent Bioaccumulative Toxicant) – Does not break down readily from natural processes, accumulates in organisms concentrating as it moves up the food chain, and is harmful in small quantities.

 

What are safer alternatives?

  • GOOD – Select a fiberglass/mineral wool insulation product with a GREENGUARD™ certificate so it has been tested and third-party certified to have no or minimal off-gassing of formaldehyde.
  • BETTER – Select fiberglass/mineral wool products that use chemical or bio-based substitutes for formaldehyde.
  • BEST – Consider other types of insulation, such as cellulose, cotton and natural wool.

Note: Typical exposure comes from off-gassing of the chemical, however, poorly installed fiberglass/mineral wool insulation or poor cleanup after installation could leave dust and fibers that may be a respiratory irritant as well.

Effects detailed above can occur at various stages of the product’s lifetime, not just during usage. All have been included to provide a complete picture of the chemical’s danger.

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