ment of Housing and Urban Devel- opment’s standard for formaldehyde emissions. • Look for a high percentage of lami- nated or coated surfaces and edges when buying cabinets and furniture. • Avoid foamed-in-place insulation containing formaldehyde. Choose blown-in, recycled cellulose, recy- cled cotton batting or formaldehyde- free fiberglass insulation instead. • Use exterior-grade pressed wood products containing PF resins, which emit formaldehyde at a lower rate than UF resins. • Avoid medium density fiberboard (MDF) in construction projects. It contains the highest resin-to-wood ratio of any UF-pressed wood product.
When using PF- or UF-containing products, pick a solution that either slows formaldehyde release over time or accelerates its release prior to installation.
• In humid conditions, dehumidifi- ers can slow down off-gassing. • Increase the flow of outdoor air indoors where these products are present. In new construction, venti- late the building with outside air for four weeks prior to occupancy. • Set pressed wood products out in the sun for up to four weeks before installing, in order to bake off gases. Allow for ventilation between each board.
Creating a healthy indoor environ- ment can prevent many health prob- lems and discomforts from sneaking up on us, making home the safe refuge it was always meant to be.
Resources: EPA Indoor Air Quality Information Clearinghouse: 800-438- 4318. Indoor Air Quality Associa- tion: www.IAQA.org
. National Safety Council: 800-SOS-RADON. National Environmental Health Association: www.NEHA-nrpp.org
. Green Seal: www.GreenSeal.org
Crissy Trask is a green lifestyle consul- tant and the author of It’s Easy Being Green: A Handbook for Earth-Friendly Living. She can be reached at CT@ GreenMatters.com
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natural awakenings January 2014 27
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