You can do a number of practical things to avoid formaldehyde in your home. I have consolidated a list down to nine all-important items, but t
o learn more about the home health risks that threaten your family, read my special report "Health Dangers Lurk Within Your Home."
1. Avoid products that contain UF or other formaldehyde compounds. A number of companies make environmentally safe building materials, and some construction companies specialize in building homes according to these guidelines. Choose formaldehyde-free cleaning products, disinfectants, furniture polishes, and fabrics.
2. Pay attention to clothing labels. Debra Lynn Dadd, author of The Nontoxic Home & Office, recommends avoiding items labeled “crease resistant,” “durable pressed,” “no iron,” “shrink-proof,” “permanent pressed,” “stretch-proof,” “waterproof,” or “permanently pleated.” In addition, she notes that most upholstery fabrics are coated with a formaldehyde resin and virtually all polyester/cotton blend fabrics have formaldehyde finishes.
3. Avoid eating mushrooms, aspartame, and other food items that contain formaldehyde. There are many reasons you should avoid eating mushrooms (they contain high levels of the excitotoxin glutamate as well as carcinogens), but one major reason is that many mushroom farms use a formaldehyde gas as a pesticide. You should also avoid gelatin-containing medications and supplements, since the gelatin can contain formaldehyde. (For tips on buying safer food, read my special report "How to Avoid Poisonous Foods.")
4. Use non-toxic sealers on furniture. Most of us would not want to throw out our expensive furniture in order to purge our houses of formaldehyde, but the portions made of particle board or press board can be coated with a non-toxic sealant. The same is true for floorings.
5. Do not use spray aerosol products, such as deodorants and hair sprays. Instead, use bottles with simple finger pumps. If you have ever seen aerosol hair spray sprayed in bright light from a distance, you will understand the extensive area covered.
6. Increase your family’s natural ability to detoxify toxins. Every cell in your body, not just the liver, has the capacity to detoxify a great number of poisons. Silymarin, vitamins E, C, D-3 and the B vitamins all enhance detoxifications. Special supplements, such as curcumin, indole-3 carbinol, DIM, alpha-lipoic acid, taurine, and MSM, also enhance detoxification.
7. Use an air purifier. Buy a brand that removes volatile organic compounds (VOCs). The HEPA filters and ionic plate types do not remove these toxic fumes. The best purifier for removing VOCs is one with activated carbon filters.
8. Decorate with house plants. While most people think of house plants as just another way to decorate, they can be lifesaving. Research conducted by NASA found that several common house plants detoxify household chemicals. Research by Dr. Bill Wolverton, retired senior scientist at NASA’s John C. Stennis Space center in Bay St. Louis, Miss. found that the most effective plants for removing formaldehyde were philodendron, spider plant, and golden pothos. Gerbera daisy and chrysanthemum plants removed benzene effectively, while bamboo palm, peace lily, ficus, Dracaena massangeana cane, Sanseveria (mother-in-law’s tongue), and Chinese evergreen were also effective at removing a number of pollutants.
9. Let the sunshine and fresh air inside. On nice days, it would be a good idea to open up your house and air out the rooms for several hours.
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