Formaldehyde is a colorless, flammable gas that can be carcinogenic to humans, and is a common additive to building materials and household products. Formaldehyde is also formed in the environment upon oxidation of a variety of hydrocarbons, including natural gas (methane). Symptoms of exposure to low concentrations of formaldehyde may include headache, nausea, throat and skin irritation, and exacerbated chemical sensitivity. For a quick summary of formaldehyde exposure basics, please see the ASTDR’s ToxFAQs for Formaldehyde. For much more in-depth information, please see the ASTDR’s Toxicological Profile for Formaldehyde.
In Public Lab, we’ve been exploring low-cost methods for monitoring airborne concentrations of formaldehyde and low-cost methods for mitigating exposure to it.
Projects related to formaldehyde monitoring and exposure mitigation can be found on the following wikis.
Low-cost monitoring of airborne formaldehyde using colorimetric tubes: https://publiclab.org/wiki/formaldehyde-test-kit
Low-cost monitoring of airborne formaldehyde using a passive badge sampler and smartphone app: https://publiclab.org/wiki/smart-form
Personal exposure to formaldehyde (and information about exposure): https://publiclab.org/wiki/formaldehyde-exposure
Low-cost remediation or airborne formaldehyde: https://publiclab.org/wiki/diy-indoor-air-quality-remediation-kit
Current formaldehyde research in Public Lab
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Questions in Public Lab related to formaldehyde
|My VOC readings are maxing out at 9.99mg/cubic meter. Is there a better instrument?||@liz||2 months ago||1|
|Formaldehyde levels||@Ag8n||11 months ago||1|
Activities to try in Public Lab related to formaldehyde
|Field Test of DIY formaldehyde testing and remediation kit||-||-||@nshapiro||-||-||0 replications: Try it »|
|Build a plant-based air purifier||build||in-progress||@nshapiro||3h||easy||5 replications: Try it »|
|Snake Plant Air Remediation Build & Partial Teardown||-||-||@jfrankamp||-||-||0 replications: Try it »|
Activities should include a materials list, costs and a step-by-step guide to construction with photos. Learn what makes a good activity here.