Toe TagWhen remodeling your home, it’s not only important to be conscious of colors, styles, practicality, design and cost… So, what more could there possibly be?  Well, there’s the factor of health for both the environment and your family.

What is Formaldehyde

A simple search for formaldehyde on the internet will turn up all sorts of information – some positive, some negative, some down-right scary.  The truth is, formaldehyde is an organic compound made of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen (CH2O).  It is found everywhere from our bodies (in small levels) to the trees in the forest, to – yes – even your kitchen.

Formaldehyde has many uses – from “final washing” in photography, to its uses as an embalming fluid, and its extensive use in the woodworking and cabinet making industry.  Particleboard, used underneath wood veneer and plastic laminate, often contains urea-formaldehyde (AKA urea- methanol).

According to Wikipedia, there are approximately 1 million metric tons of urea-formaldehyde produced every year with over 70% put into use by forest industry products.  It is extremely useful in the production of textiles, paper, cotton blends, laminates, corduroy, etc., and widely used as an adhesive resin due to performance and low-price.

So why is everyone so worried about formaldehyde?

Formaldehyde is highly toxic to all animals in high levels, regardless of method of intake.  It is also allergenic, and in June of 2011, the US National Toxicology Program announced that formaldehyde is a known carcinogen for humans.   Humans are commonly exposed to formaldehyde through inhalation due to chemical decomposition of resins; and due to its common use in household and construction items, it is one of the most common indoor pollutants.  Seems scary, right? Don’t panic.

Should I be worried?

Take a deep breath (well, make sure there isn’t a high concentration of formaldehyde present, first…) because chances are, your household products contain just a small concentration of it.  You just want to be sure not to collect a large number of products containing this small amount, as each adds more exposure.

Many cabinet dealers offers CARB 2 Compliant cabinets, which are manufactured with premium quality plywood that meets the California formaldehyde emission standards for indoor air quality.  CARB stands for California Air Resources Board, also known as the “clean air agency.”  It was established as a way to protect the public from toxic air contaminants and is active in coming up with innovative approaches for complying with air pollution regulations.

If you have questions regarding  CARB 2 Compliant cabinets, contact your local kitchen and bath dealership for additional information.