Formaldehyde

Insulation Sector

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

Orange toxic to humans and animals symbolToxic to Humans & Animals – Can be fatal on contact, ingestion or inhalation for humans and other mammals.

orange eye irritant symbolIrritates the Eyes – Can cause irritation or serious damage to the eye.

orange skin irritant symbolIrritates the Skin – Can cause irritation or serious damage to the skin.

 

Chronic (Long Term) Effects

red cancer symbolCancer – Can cause or increase the risk of cancer.

orange gene damage symbol Gene Damage – Can cause or increase the rate of mutations, which are changes in genetic material in cells.

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

orange skin irritant symbolSensitizes the Skin – Can lead to allergic reactions on the skin.

yellow birth defects symbolBirth 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.

grey PBT symbol PBT (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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