CETCI IAQ Monitors and Stationary Transmitters will accommodate a Formaldehyde sensor.

Published July 2005

Low-molecular weight aldehydes, such as formaldehyde, are reactive, highly flammable compounds. At room temperature, formaldehyde is a reactive gas.

Extensive reviews of formaldehyde emissions sources have been published by the World Health Organization (WHO 1989), and Environment Canada and Health Canada (2001). Sources that influence indoor levels of formaldehyde can be divided into two broad categories: combustion and off-gassing. Combustion sources include cigarettes and other tobacco products, and open fireplaces. Off-gassing sources include wood products such as particle board and other building materials made with adhesives containing formaldehyde as well as some varnishes, paints, carpeting, drapes and curtains.

Results from studies carried out in Canada since the early 1990s consistently indicate that formaldehyde concentrations in Canadian homes range between 2.5 and 88 µg/m3with an average between 30 and 40 µg/m3(Health Canada 2005).

Assessment Under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act
Formaldehyde was declared "toxic" under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 as it is "entering the Canadian environment in a quantity or concentration that constitutes or may constitute a danger for the environment on which life depends and a danger in Canada to human life or health" (Environment Canada, Health Canada 2001).

Residential Indoor Air Quality Guidelines for Formaldehydes
A one-hour exposure limit is established at 123µg/m3(100 ppb), which represents one fifth of the no observable adverse effects level and one tenth of the lowest observable adverse effects level found for eye irritation in the Kulle (1993) study. A eight-hour exposure limit is established at 50µg/m3(40 ppb), i.e., a the lower end of the exposure category associated with no significant increase of asthma hospitalization in the Rumchev, et al., (2002) study.

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