Formaldehyde in engineered wood or laminate flooring

Formaldehyde—a colorless gas—is commonly found in resins, or glues, that are used to bind wood chips or fibers into plywood, particleboard and other engineered or pressed wood products. You can often detect formaldehyde by its smell, and a high concentrations of it can irritate your eyes, nose and lungs. The California Air Resources Board (CARB) has even classified formaldehyde as a toxic air contaminant because of its potential to cause cancer and other adverse health effects. Needless to say, this is not something you want to have in your home.

The most effective way to reduce your exposure to formaldehyde is to remove or reduce sources of the contaminant from products in your house. Make sure you only bring home formaldehyde-free building materials when you start your shopping. If you're not able to find products that are completely formaldehyde-free, look for materials that have low formaldehyde emissions levels that meet the CARB airborne toxic control measure (ATCM).

Also, look for GREENGUARD-certified products, and before you shop, visit their Sustainable Products Guide for an up-to-date catalogue of third-party certified products.

Learn more from CARB about reducing your exposure to formaldehyde