OK, so I know this isn’t the most glamorous topic to talk about on a Monday morning, but I recently did something really important in our home and I want to share it with you all. So last week a report was released that stated how formaldehyde exposure is linked to serious health issues like terminal illness and cancer. I wasn’t surprised by the report at all, I mean we’re all aware that chemicals are bad for our health, but this article confirmed it even more so. It’s scary, scary stuff. And since reading that article I’ve been thinking about how formaldehyde is in SO many of the products we use and the things we have in our home. It’s used to make furniture, rugs, lotions, laundry detergents, etc. It’s in EVERYTHING, which is awful considering how damaging it is to our health. It really weighed on my mind, so I did a little research and found that you can actually get a test kit see how high the formaldehyde levels are in your home. I was really curious to see how our home would test, so I ordered several of these test kits. I’m going to share the results with you guys today and chat about how to test your home for formaldehyde. I’m also going to share four ways you can lower the levels in your home.
How to Test Your Home
There are lots of kits you can buy to test the formaldehyde levels in your home, and you can even hire a professional to do it, but I ordered this test kit. It was pretty easy to use and the directions were clear–you simply mix two different liquids into a powder substance at different times and then let it sit for 30 minutes to test the air quality in each room. I tested our living room, the kids rooms, and our basement. Safe indoor formaldehyde levels should not exceed 0.10mg according to this test. If the levels in your home are high, or if your exposure through other products is high, you can have things like burning eyes, nose and throat, asthmatic attacks, skin irritation, headaches and nausea. And studies now show the long term effects include cancer, leukemia, and other terminal illnesses. (Sources here and here) It’s definitely a serious thing, which is why I wanted to do this test. Ok, so here’s the one I bought:
I did four total tests in our home. Here’s how my son’s room tested:
And this is the test from our basement:
It’s obviously a bit tricky to tell exactly what the levels are based on this chart that came with the kit, but from what I can see I think we tested a bit higher than the normal level of 0.10mg. Each room that I tested was slightly different, but they all looked to be between 0.10 and 0.30mg. Thankfully none of them were super high, but they were still higher than they should be.
How to Lower the Level of Formaldehyde in Your Home
So of course my next question was how do we lower the levels of formaldehyde in our home? I did a ton of research and here’s a few things I came up with:
Get Lots of House Plants
Apparently house plants are like little superheros when it comes to purifying the air. They can be one of the most effective ways to remove toxins from the air in your home. According to recommendations from NASA, you should have at least one houseplant per 100 sq. ft. in your home–which means a houseplant in basically every room in your home! And NASA even did an in-depth study to find which plants are the best at removing formaldehyde from the air: Spider Plant, Peace Lily, Rubber Tree, Moth Orchid, Money Plant, Dumb Cane, Philodendron.
Choose Furniture Wisely
One of the most common places formadehye can be found is in our furniture, rugs, and even flooring. So whenever possible, read labels and any disclosures to see how the product you’re buying is made. Always buy real, solid wood furniture and avoid any pressed wood products as much as you can. Even most mattresses are loaded with chemicals! (I found several non-toxic options listed here) Unfortunately formaldehyde is very common when it comes to furniture, but you can avoid it by looking for products that are labeled organic and eco-friendly.
Get An Air Purifier
There are actually several air purifiers on the market that are great at removing toxins and specifically formadeyde from the air in your home. They’re very expensive, but definitely worth the money if your home tests high. I found a few options here.
Switch to Natural Cleaners and Products
One of the easiest ways to reduce your family’s exposure to formadehde is to switch to natural, non-toxic household cleaners and other products like laundry detergent, shampoo, lotion, etc. It’s SO important to read labels and look for products that are biodegradable and non-toxic. I’m in the process of switching all of our household cleaners over to non-toxic alternatives from Young Living and I’m also switching out other things like our hand soap, laundry detergent, bath products, etc. It’s a bit of a process and it doesn’t happen all at once, but little by little we are making those changes and I am so happy we are. You can read more about all of that here if you want. Even just a couple of small changes can really help.
Here are a few common products that contain formaldehyde:
Lotions, Sunblock, Soap Bars, Body Wash
Cosmetics, Skincare Products, Toothpaste
Baby Wipes, Shampoo, Bubble Bath
Cleaning Products, Laundry Detergent
Furniture, Laminate Flooring, Mattresses
Particle Board, Pressed Wood
Permanent Press Clothing
I know this isn’t exactly a fun topic, and I hesitated to even share this little test we did in our home, but I think it’s really important so I wanted to share it with you all. I was really nervous to do the formaldehyde test in our home, but I’m glad that I did because it motivated me to make some changes. (You better believe I’ve already loaded up each rom with tons of plants!) Our health is such a gift and it’s really up to us to do the best we can for ourselves and our families. And even though formaldehyde is in so many things we use, I do think we can be proactive to create a healthier home for our families. Even just adding in a few of the right house plants in your home or switching out a few products can be a great start. Small changes eventually add up to big changes!
Well I hope this was helpful and maybe gets you thinking about how you can take little steps to avoid chemicals and toxins in your home. Thank you SO much for stopping by the blog today, here are a few other posts you might like: