For decades formaldehyde was used for the embalming of bodies to preserve them until burial. And while the health risks of formaldehyde has stirred an uproar as to its uses, it is still found in many products today.

If you think you are safe from this carcinogenic substance, it’s likely your home was built with formaldehyde and you’re currently cleaning your home with products containing it.

You’re not likely to find the word listed on the labels of the many products you buy. Manufacturers use tricky language that puts you at ease as you take your new item to the checkout. Synonyms and chemicals that act like formaldehyde don’t get much attention, but if any of the following words appear on the label, you might want to think twice before buying them:

1,3-Dioxetane; Formalin; Formic Aldehyde; Methanal; Methylaldehyde; Methylene Oxide; Oxymethane; Formalin; Oxymethyline; Quaternium 15; Phenol Formaldehyde; Urea

Most such products can be found in the materials used for construction of homes and include glue, plywood, fiberboard, particleboard, timber paneling and insulation.

Of course, it’s not so easy to tear down your walls to replace your plywood with eco-friendly products, but you can avoid buying and using many of the products that come with formaldehyde. And many personal cleansing and beauty products you use to lather, exfoliate and cleanse your skin do come with formaldehyde.

Before you buy anything to put on your skin, the largest organ of your body, or the sensitive and delicate skin of your baby, you should be aware of the products that are likely to contain formaldehyde. They are:

Baby wipes; Body wash; Bubble bath; Cosmetics; Lotions; Shampoos; Soaps; Sunblock; Toothpaste

If you want to avoid using formaldehyde laced products, you should look for anything that says “non-toxic to humans and aquatic life” or biodegradable” on the label.

The H1N1 virus has governments and the public alike worried about its re-occurrence and while they may have the best of intentions, that flu shot contains formaldehyde.

While it’s true that most products contain small amounts of chemicals, it’s the repeated use over time that can create health problems. While you use more, you increase your exposure and health problems. And the formaldehyde in the flu shot can build up over time.

If you are experiencing watery eyes, burning nose or throat, or experience asthmatic attacks, it may be due to formaldehyde exposure. Other symptoms include skin irritation, headaches, nausea and fever. Long term use can lead to cancer.

The first step is to reduce or eliminate those products that contain formaldehyde from your home and switch to non-toxic and biodegradable products.

If you are planning any home renovations, you can look to replacing particle and pressed wood boards. You can also use an organic clay based paint on your walls to absorb any gas that can escape from the walls into the home.

Prevention is an important key to maintain health. The long term effects are well worth the expense to insure that you and your family stay healthy. The only use for formaldehyde is for embalming after you’ve lived a healthy life.

The Author:

The author is a freelance writer who writes mostly in subjects dealing with health and business. He currently has a number of articles published on Helium:

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Photo Credit: Jane M. Sawyer



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