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Technical Data Sheets Formaldehyde and Emissions Information Formaldehyde in Perspective Advocacy and Information

Formaldehyde and Emissions Information

Formaldehyde is a naturally occurring organic compound with the formula CH20. It is present in wood, food, the air—even inside us and in space. It is a commonly used building block chemical in various materials including resins and adhesives.

For perspective, the average person produces about 1.5 ounces of formaldehyde each day in the ordinary course of living. This is 16,000 times more than all the wood products in a typical home combined. Formaldehyde does not accumulate in the environment or within people, as it quickly breaks down in the atmosphere and the body. Highly efficient enzymes allow us to safely process the low levels of formaldehyde we produce internally as well as the small amounts that we ingest and inhale.

Since the early 1980s, Hexion and other resin producers have improved resin technologies and reduced indoor air formaldehyde levels attributable to building products by 80 to 90 percent. Current indoor air quality studies report that, on average, only very low levels of formaldehyde (less than 0.045 ppm) are present in the typical new home featuring modern building materials. These levels approach ambient (normal) background levels, are well below strict government standards, and simply do not pose a threat.