Formaldehyde is a colourless and strong-smelling volatile organic compound (VOC) found in the air. It naturally occurs in trees, plants, fruits, and vegetables.
Interestingly, human and animals also produce very small amounts of formaldehyde. We use about 1.5 ounces of the compound a day to help synthesize certain amino acids.
Normally, the formaldehyde found in nature only amounts to 0.03 ppm. This level is far too low to affect people’s health.
However, formaldehyde concentrations become higher in urban areas because of environmental factors. These include industrial pollution, vehicle exhaust, and smog.
Sadly, you can find the highest levels of formaldehyde in homes, offices, and schools. These areas often have building materials that contain the VOC.
Plywood is a common example of a formaldehyde-based product. Manufacturers use an adhesive known as phenol formaldehyde to add structural and moisture durability to plywood products. You can easily spot the adhesive as a distinct black line between layers of ply.