Knowledgebase: Formaldehyde...Things You May Not Know

Home Inspector with Florida Healthy Home Inspections

Knowledgebase Q&A: Formaldehyde


Although I familiar with FORMALDEHYDE, I am not aware of its sources.

Formaldehyde is an off-gassing from pressed wood products (hardwood plywood wall paneling, particleboard, fiberboard) and furniture made with these pressed wood products. Urea-formaldehyde foam insulation (UFFI) is commonly used in home construction. Combustion sources and environmental tobacco smoke produce formaldehyde. Formaldehyde is also used in dry cleaning, durable press drapes, other textiles, and glues.

Why is asbestos a health hazard?

Asbestos particles are very small, their size can be compared to that of powder. This powder like substance is added to some sort of glue to bind the material together. Once this process is complete it is formed into its shape. The problem arises with the lapse of time. The glue that once held the asbestos together breaks down releasing the powder, making the particles air born. Once airborne normal breathing can draw the asbestos fibers into the body, where they wind up embedding themselves and start to cause damage. Asbestos particles being different from dust are not easily removed by the body, instead they lodge themselves into cells altering those cells into malignant cells that grow consuming the normal ones. The medical condition is call Asbestosis.

How do I know if what I see is really asbestos?

Because asbestos comes in different shapes, sizes, outside covering and colors, only testing can determine if what you see is truly asbestos. It can be difficult to determine if what you see is asbestos or not so here are some picture to help you in your quest (these boiler/furnace photos contained asbestos mud packed joints wrapped with an asbestos cloth.

What can I do to protect my family?

You have already taken the first step which is education. YOU KNOW THE HAZARDS. Now find out what options are available to you. This is done by contacting an asbestos and lead remediation company. They will do the following: They will come to your location and perform what is called a site assessment. They come in (usually) at no charge especially when you tell them about your asbestos map. They will take samples of the material to validate your need for remediation. The lab tests are usually reasonably priced. From this process you will be provided several options. An important point to remember is to get a company that specializes in asbestos and lead remediation, believe me the last thing you want is a house full of asbestos.

Is it better to remove or contain asbestos?

Removal is not always the answer. Containment or otherwise known as encapsulation in many cases can prove to be the best all around choice. There are many factors to consider:


Age of dwelling

The current condition of the asbestos

Will there be future renovations in that area

Future plans for the building (sale)

Relation of asbestos area to the rest of the building

Comments (0)

What's the reason you're reporting this blog entry?

Are you sure you want to report this blog entry as spam?