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On the one hand we try to live healthy, avoiding poisonous habits and unhealthy foods. On the other hand, we live with toxins all around us, polluting our air, our hair, our homes, bodies, and lives. That is true of formaldehyde.
Formaldehyde in laminate wood flooring from Lumber Liquidators has gotten a lot of attention in the last year or so. But did you know there is formaldehyde in plenty of other products, some of which you may use? Let's take a look at what formaldehyde does to humans and a list of items that include this carcinogen.
A Human Carcinogen
A little exposure to formaldehyde is no big deal in most people. But extensive exposure over a long time is considered a carcinogen linked to cancers like leukemia. For people who are particularly sensitive, exposure to formaldehyde can cause burning eyes, eczema, and respiratory problems.
You may prefer to seem pressed rather than rumpled. But beware wrinkle free clothing. Reportedly, in order to make fabrics that do not wrinkle, manufacturers use a formaldehyde-based resin to treat the materials. This resin is also used in upholstery and bedding. So pull out the iron or just adopt a more casual approach to clothes and bedclothes or you risk exposure to toxins.
Similarly, fans of the Brazilian blowout -- which essentially provides wrinkle free hair for a few months (it's a straightening treatment) -- should be careful. The blowouts have long been known to expose people to formaldehyde, despite initial claims by the manufacturer that it was a formaldehyde-free approach to keratin treatment unlike competitors.
But the Brazilian Blowout is not the only hair product that contains formaldehyde, and there are also nail polishes and nail polish removers containing the stuff. The dangerous chemical has even been used in skin and baby care products and cleaning supplies. Check the labels on household products.
Apart from bedding and upholstery treated with formaldehyde, there is that laminate flooring mentioned earlier. Lumber Liquidators has come under fire for its formaldehyde floors, but they are not the only company that has distributed toxic building supplies. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) came under fire some years back after Hurricane Katrina survivors discovered that they were being housed in mobile homes with dangerously high levels of formaldehyde.
Talk to a Lawyer
If you or someone you know has been exposed extensively to formaldehyde and has become ill or injured as a result, speak to a lawyer. Many personal injury attorneys consult for free or a minimal fee and will be happy to assess your case.