Why Formaldehyde is Our Enemy

This week, Formaldehyde has grabbed my attention.

Why is Formaldehyde our “enemy”? and Why does it sound so dirty saying it?

What is it?

Formaldehyde is a naturally occurring Organic Compound. >> CH2O

It is a colorless, flammable, strong smelling chemical and is lurking in all of our everyday products because it is commonly used as an adhesive, bonding, agent, and solvent.

Where can it be found?

Formaldehyde can occur naturally in our food as well as in the human body. It is a natural breakdown product of a chemical called Trimethylamine oxide which is a common chemical used for animal metabolism.

It is the essential for the production of amino acids which are the building blocks of proteins in the body.

However, don’t let that foul you. Excessive amounts of Formaldehyde can affect our health.

Formaldehyde is used in our:

  • Furniture

  • Cabinets

  • Plywood

  • Hair care products

  • Deodorants

  • Toothpaste

  • Lipstick

  • Nail polish

  • Lotions

  • Sunscreen

  • Cleaning products (as disinfectants)

  • Glues

  • Gas cooking

  • Preservative foods

  • Cigarette smoke

Formaldehyde can also be labeled

  • Formalin

  • Formic aldehyde

  • Methanediol

  • Methanal

  • Methyl aldehyde

  • Methylene glycol

  • Methylene oxide

What are the danger/symptoms?

Formaldehyde is highly volatile and can become easily airborne and trapped in your home. This is why Formaldehyde levels are usually higher inside our homes rather than outside.

The National Toxicology Program, The International Agency for research on Cancer, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the National Cancer Institute all label Formaldehyde as a carcinogen and can cause cancer in the nose and throat.

High exposure can also cause a list of symptoms in the nose and throat area. These high exposures are most common in newer homes or homes with new construction.

  • Asthma attacks

  • Nausea

  • Scratchy eyes

  • Headaches

  • Respiratory irritation

Some Solutions

  1. Request building material that does not have high levels of Formaldehyde

  2. Do not smoke – especially indoors

  3. Open windows as much as possible to let in fresh air

  4. Have adequate ventilation for example a stove vent

  5. Reduce the humidity levels in your home as well as keep a moderate temperature

  6. Avoid using any personal care products, cleaning products, or cosmetics that may have been exposed to Formaldehyde during production or contains Formaldehyde now as a bonding agent. It is best to go with products and a company you know you can trust to give you clean products.

Our Changes

Justin and I have already made many changes to our home to create a clean, sustainable lifestyle.

I like Young Living for their integrity, sustainable practices, and promise of high quality products. Justin and I have already switched out many of our personal care, cleaning, and cosmetic products to be clean and sustainable.

Justin loves woodworking and designs and makes all of our new furniture/house décor. I love this because he goes the extra step in making sure all the materials are safe for our health.

We do not smoke and are also opening our windows for fresh air. Our apartment is quite small so we use standing fans for ventilation and air circulation. I also diffuse oils into the air to create a clean indoor atmosphere.

We also attempt to moderate the humidity and temperature levels in our apartment. However, this is sometimes hard to do. Our apartment is from the late 1800s and the windows are absolute awful. It is hard to control any type of atmosphere.

Since our apartment is so old, we have other things to worry about. For instance, the lead paint on the window sills.

End Note

If you are living in a home environment where Formaldehyde is possible, get it out of your home. Formaldehyde is our enemy when we are exposed to excessive amounts of it.

It is best to remove all or at least decrease the sources of Formaldehyde in your home.

Thanks for reading, I hope you have a wonderful day creating a clean, sustainable lifestyle.



Center for Disease Control and Prevention:


Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory:


National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences: National Toxicology Program:


American Cancer Society:


U.S. Food and Drug Administration:


Centre for Food Safety: The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region:


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