OK, so you buy new kitchen cabinets, furniture or put in new flooring made with composite wood. And you got it on the cheap.
You could be in danger of formaldehyde.
Most composite wood contain adhesives, bonding agents or solvents containing formaldehyde. Contact with too much of it is dangerous. It’s a carcinogen that can cause cancer. The colorless gas also can cause allergic reactions, as well as heart palpitations, memory loss, difficulty breathing and aching joints.
While makers of wood products made in the United States have voluntarily adopted standards to limit formaldehyde levels, cheaper products made overseas and imported still contain high concentrations of the chemical compound. And the imports have been increasing dramatically in recent years, especially from China.
But a bill introduced by U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar and Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), establishing national health standards for formaldehyde in composite wood products, is making headway.
The legislation — the Formaldehyde Standards for Composite Wood Act — passed the U.S. Senate today. The bill, establishing the toughest standards in the world, would apply to both domestic and foreign imports. If it becomes law, it would go into effect Jan. 1, 2013.