If you live in a mobile home, tiny home, or cabin, then you may be aware of what formaldehyde is and the dangerous effect it can have on people.
Formaldehyde is a colorless but strong-smelling gas that is released from the materials used to make a lot of smaller homes.
It comes from petroleum-based massed produced products like plastics, foam, plywood, foam insulation (UFFI), particleboard, engineered wood, and much more.
If you think that you are being exposed to formaldehyde in your home, then you will need to test for it as soon as possible.
How To Test For Formaldehyde?
There are a few different ways you can test formaldehyde, you can either use home testing kits, or some people may be able to get FEMA to visit their home and do a test.
Home testing kits
This is the most common way that people will be able to test for formaldehyde in their homes. The Advanced Chemical Sensors F-50 Formaldehyde Vapor Monitor can be bought online and in the same testing kit that FEMA uses. There are also other testing kits that you can find on Amazon that do the same job.
The government – FEMA
This option is only available to those who have received a mobile home from FEMA as part of temporary housing and disaster relief.
FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) will often visit a mobile home to test for formaldehyde before they move in a person or family, though they may come out to the trailer if you request it. If the levels are too high then they will be able to fix the issue without you having to worry about anything.
What Do The Results Mean?
Formaldehyde is usually measured in ppm (parts per million), or mg/L (milligrams per liter). A high level of formaldehyde is considered to be around 50-80ppm, while 10-80 is the medium level.
How Do I Remove Formaldehyde From My Home?
There are a few ways you can lower the levels of formaldehyde, and you should try to do as many of these as possible if you have received high readings from the test.
- Keep windows open as much as possible. This allows fresh air in while also letting the gas escape
- Don’t allow water to accumulate in your home, damp is a major factor in causing more formaldehyde
- Keep the temperature as low as your comfort level will allow in your home. This will prevent indoor air from heating up, which can only worsen the spread of formaldehyde
- Don’t smoke indoors
- To help keep levels of mold in your home low, keep your ac unit running for a lot of the day if you have one and if that is possible. Make sure that the AC unit is bringing air in from outside the home, and is not just circulating the air inside. If you do not have an AC unit or you can’t run it constantly, then place dehumidifiers around your home. These do not have to be electric, you can buy stand-alone ones that will naturally suck up the water in the air.
Keep Mold Under Control
Mold is a big factor in keeping formaldehyde levels down in your home because this can make levels rise even further. Make sure that you are doing everything you can to keep mold away, like fixing water leaks as soon as possible.
If you notice mold growing or you can small it, clean the area with soap and water and dry thoroughly.
What Are The Symptoms Of Formaldehyde Exposure?
Aside from smelling gas, you may notice that you have been exposed to formaldehyde when you start showing symptoms of exposure. Symptoms include :
- Sore throat
- Itchy or burning eyes
- Breathing difficulties
- Sinus or respiratory infections
- Difficulties in concentrating or performing day-to-day activities
A lot of these symptoms can also appear if a person has allergies or a cold or flu, but if you are unsure if your sickness has been caused by these or formaldehyde exposure then it is best that you get checked by your doctor just to be on the safe side.
Formaldehyde exposure has also been liked to nose and throat cancer later in life. It does not just happen to people who have been exposed to high levels of the gas, as even people who have been exposed to levels too low to cause symptoms have experienced cancer later in life.
While cancer will not appear in everyone who has been exposed, the chances rise the longer you are exposed, and especially if you have been exposed to high levels. That is why you need to fix this issue as soon as you notice it.
Who Is Most At Risk?
Though formaldehyde expose will affect everyone who comes into contact with it, some people are more at risk of getting sick than others. These are the factors that will impact how sick you get.
The airways are irritated by formaldehyde. Because of this, formaldehyde is extremely harmful to people who have asthma, bronchitis, or other respiratory problems. Other chronic conditions may make formaldehyde exposure more difficult to recover from.
Although pregnant women and their unborn child are not at an increased risk, they should avoid unnecessary exposure.
If someone in your mobile home suffers from any of these conditions, it is very important to limit their formaldehyde exposure as quickly as possible.
Children and the elderly are especially vulnerable to formaldehyde exposure. Children may become more sensitive to formaldehyde, making it more likely that they will fall ill.
Elderly people also have a harder time tolerating high levels of formaldehyde due to it causing respiratory issues.
If you have children or the elderly in your mobile home, you should limit their formaldehyde exposure as much as possible when trying to clear the gas from your home.