What I want to do
So, I've been talking about the issue of formaldehyde and other volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in indoor air with my friends.
The picture above shows just some of the household chemicals i use in a given month. Nail polish, glues, paint, etc. That quart of contact cement is almost empty after we spent last Friday evening crafting foam mermaid tentacles. Wow what a headache we got, plus you could smell it on the street outside my building and the neighbors complained. But was it formaldehyde or other VOCs? Was it from the glue or from the foam?
Generally, we are trying to understand where we would be exposed to formaldehyde / other VOCs in our daily life and -- depending on the levels -- whether we can ignore it or need to be concerned. Figuring out that threshold is important.
My attempt and results
I am about to receive a Formaldehyde Test Kit in the mail (YAY!) and i am planning what to measure.
- Maybe my closet where the chemicals and foam are stored.
- Maybe my bathroom when I am doing my nails. (It won't be the first Public Lab experiment to happen in my bathroom...anyone remember the thermal flashlight experiment?)
- Maybe I'll take the test kit with me to a nail salon.
- Maybe I'll take the test kit to a cheap laminate furniture wholesale store.
Questions and next steps
I would like to know:
- How much formaldehyde is released from a new set of laminate cabinets in a home?
- What about from a new carpet?
- When bringing new things into your home that are known to off-gas, does it take years or days for the VOCs to dissipate?
- How bad is it to do your nails, or go to a nail salon to have them done? OSHA says there is formaldehyde and also a lot of other chemicals: https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/nailsalons/chemicalhazards.html
- is our formaldehyde test kit going to be sensitive to these other VOCs also?
Why I'm interested