Because it is a toxic chemical widely used in various industries, many workers are at risk of formaldehyde exposure. Employers that use this substance are legally required to have an exposure control plan in place, but even some workplaces that don’t directly work with formaldehyde can be problematic due to its presence in so many everyday products. Periodic testing for formaldehyde VOCS by a company such as M3 Environmental LLC in Monterey, CA is one of the best steps employers can take to protect staff and prevent workplace injury and lawsuits.
Risks Of Formaldehyde Exposure
Formaldehyde exists in both gas and liquid state. It’s dangerous in both forms, but the gas is even more toxic than the liquid because it can be easily inhaled. Here are some of the potential side effects of both short-term and long-term exposure to this chemical.
Short Term Side Effects
- Nose, Throat, & Eye Irritation
- Coughing & Wheezing
- Shortness Of Breath
Long Term Health Risks
- Allergic Contact Dermatitis
- Burning Sensation In Respiratory Tract & Eyes
- Lung Cancer
- Nasal & Throat Cancer
What Workplaces Are Most At-Risk?
Low levels of naturally occurring formaldehyde aren’t dangerous because this chemical is produced by all life forms, including plants, animals, and even humans. The problem comes with a high level of exposure. Here are just some industries whose workers are at an elevated risk of formaldehyde exposure when handling or manufacturing certain products, including textiles, building materials, automobile parts, labs, beauty products, and more.
- Morticians — Embalming Process
- Construction Staff — Handling Resin Manufactured Products
- Beauticians — Applying Dyes & Smoothing Products
- Farm & Ranch Workers — Working In Confinement Livestock Production
- Factory Workers — Manufacturing Plastics, Foam Insulation, Resins, Auto Parts
- Textile Industry Employees — Cloth Manufacturing & Clothing Production
- Furniture Makers & Woodworkers — Using Glues & Varnishes & Composite Wood Products
- Lab Techs & Medical Staff — Working With Formalin (Liquid Formaldehyde)
Formaldehyde At The Office
You might think your office job means you are safe from formaldehyde exposure, but that’s not necessarily true. Fresh paint and new office furniture might make your workplace look great, but can also make your staff feel sick. Paint, furniture, and other office products contain and off-gas many VOCs, including formaldehyde. VOC off-gassing can continue for years.
Five Tips To Minimize Formaldehyde Exposure At Work
- Create and implement an exposure control plan.
- Choose non-wood materials for furniture.
- Ensure an adequate level of ventilation.
- Use an air purification system.
- Get regular workplace air quality testing.
Environmental Consulting In & Around Monterey, CA
Does your workplace have a formaldehyde problem? M3 Environmental LLC in Monterey, CA can find out for you. Contact us today to schedule an environmental hazard indoor air quality test, or use our online contact form to request more information. Let us help keep you and your employees safe.