Formaldehyde – Is it killing you?

May 21, 2008

Say formaldehyde and most people automatically think of the embalming process, of which it is a primary ingredient, but you would amazed at where else it turns up. Formaldehyde, is a toxin and carcinogen and is also one of the most common ingredients in many household items, from furniture to bedding. These items can give off formaldehyde fumes that are harmful to our health and lead to developing symptoms such as asthma, eye and skin irritation, headaches, wheezing and coughing.

Formaldehyde is a tissue preservative, and it is the chemical’s very toxic nature that makes it so effective at that as it quickly kills bacteria or fungi that might otherwise begin the process of decomposition. Unfortunately, it is also an ingredient in a wide variety of resins used to make permanent adhesives for plywood and carpeting, so you find it in present in furniture and building materials (particularly those made with pressed wood products) and certain moulded plastics.

Like a crease-free existence? Well formaldehyde resins are used to make textiles wrinkle-resistant and can be found in everything from curtains to sheets and clothing. Where else will you find them?

** dishwashing liquids
** fabric softeners
** carpet cleaners
** glues
** cardboard and paper products
** wallpaper and certain latex paints
** cosmetics including nail polish and nail hardener

If you like to leave your engine running in the garage or on the drive near your home, then be aware that the exhaust from cars, lawnmowers and other combustion engines contain not only the formaldehyde, but other toxic chemicals as well.

Although formaldehyde gas is colourless, it has a sharp and distinctive odour at high concentrations, but at much lower concentrations is unlikely to be obviously noticeable. If it worries you, this link takes you to a UK supplier of a home testing kit –

And Another Reason to Avoid Aspartame!

Millions of people actually are absorbing formaldehyde in their diet soft drinks. It’s true: formaldehyde is one of the chemical byproducts of aspartame breakdown in soft drinks if they are stored at incorrect temperatures – this generally is over 95F when the chemical sweetener aspartame begins to break down, forming small amounts of formaldehyde right in the can, which when swallowed becomes a potent neurotoxin. You may say you only keep your diet drinks in the fridge, but you have no control over their storage before they get to you, or if they are taken out as part of a picnic and left in the sun.

Aspartame is currently responsible for 75% of all consumer complaints to the FDA in the States and why I am so adamantly against diet drinks. Not only do they not work, your body is not ‘fooled’ by the chemical sweetener and often sends you off looking for real sugar to compensate, but aspartame has been linked to seizures, blindness, fuzzy vision, headaches and other neurological disorders. A healthy alternative is to use half fruit juice and half water, preferably still but if not then go for a less gassy alternative such as Badoit if you want that sparkle and fizz.


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