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What is formaldehyde?

What is formaldehyde?

According to the UK’s Health Protection Agency, the forerunner of today’s Public Health England, formaldehyde is a colourless, corrosive, flammable gas with a pungent, suffocating odour. It can be produced naturally and is also produced industrially on a larger scale. 

The  main  commercial use  of  formaldehyde  is  in  the  production  of  resins  for  permanent  adhesives used in fibreboard, particle board, plywood and carpets. Formaldehyde has also been used as a disinfectant and fumigant.

The Health Protection Agency states that the presence of formaldehyde in the environment does not always lead to exposure, and that any adverse health effects that do occur will depend on various factors, such as the amount you are exposed to, and the way and how long you are exposed.


Potential health problems caused by formaldehyde include:

  • Inhalation of¬† formaldehyde¬† gas¬† can¬† cause¬† irritation¬† to¬† the¬† nose,¬† mouth¬† and¬† throat¬† and¬† may cause respiratory distress and swelling of the larynx and lungs.
  • Exposure of¬† the¬† eyes¬† to¬† vapour¬† or¬† splashes¬† of¬† formaldehyde¬† solutions¬† can cause stinging and burning.
  • Exposure to the skin causes irritation with burns.
  • Ingestion of¬† formaldehyde¬† solutions¬† can¬† cause¬† burns¬† and¬† ulcers¬† to¬† the¬† gastrointestinal¬† tract¬† in¬† the¬† early¬† stages¬† after¬† ¬† Formaldehyde¬† ingestion¬† may¬† also¬† cause¬† chest¬† or¬† abdominal¬† pain,¬† nausea,¬† vomiting,¬† diarrhoea¬† and¬† gastrointestinal¬† tract¬† haemorrhage.


A known carcinogen

Formaldehyde  is  also known  to  be  a  cancer  causing  substance  and  has  been  classified  by  the  International  Agency  for  Research  on  Cancer  as  carcinogenic  to  humans.  It  may  produce  nasal  cancer  following  repeated  exposure  via  inhalation  to  levels  that  produce  chronic  irritation.  Exposure  to  lower  levels  for  shorter  periods  is  not  considered  to  present  any carcinogenic risk.

Some sources warn that children and the elderly are particularly susceptible to health issues caused by formaldehyde and that it’s important to reduce their exposure to formaldehyde.


How Little Knights can help

Little Knights paint is a world first.  It contains a unique monomer that bonds with formaldehyde molecules on contact and transforms them into harmless vapour - actively helping to improve the quality of the air in your home.  


100% VOC-free, antibacterial, odourless paint for a healthy home

High-pigment, quick drying, and driven by science

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