What is Formaldehyde? How to remove the invisible pollutant
Formaldehyde is present in virtually every home and office – but few are aware of the pollutant or how it affects air quality. Found in common materials, formaldehyde is invisible (though it can be detected through the familiar smells of fresh paint or when unboxing new furniture).
Unlike odours which eventually disappear, formaldehyde can continuously ‘off-gas’ – meaning that the airborne release of this chemical can continue to be present in homes for a number of years.
So, what is formaldehyde? And what is formalin? To break down the pollutant and its effects on home health, we walk through Dyson’s research into indoor pollution. Discover how to remove formaldehyde with Dyson’s range of air purifier technology below.
What is formaldehyde used for?
Formaldehyde is a colourless gas that is found in and released by common household and building objects, like furniture and products. ‘Formalin’ is what occurs once formaldehyde is dissolved in water. Given its guaranteed presence in indoor spaces, what is formaldehyde found in? The pollutant is used in materials like:
- Insulating materials
- Household cleaning products
Formaldehyde is widely used as a compound building block in the production of these materials and items. Because it’s a resin, it can be used in composite wood panels that would otherwise be discarded.
Use an air purifier
The latest Dyson air purifier is able to safely capture and convert formaldehyde, removing it from indoor spaces and stopping the off-gassing process. A pioneering achievement in air purification, the Dyson Purifier Hot+Cool™ Formaldehyde has whole-machine filtration that contains three separate filter systems - so what goes inside, stays inside. The filter captures odour, bacteria, pollen, allergens as well as formaldehyde, the HEPA+ Carbon filter captures particles as small as 0.1 microns4. To deal with the much smaller formaldehyde, Dyson developed a unique catalytic filter containing billions of tunnels. This filter is able to trap formaldehyde and actually convert it into water and CO2 destroying the pollutant5.
Though it was once undetectable, formaldehyde can now be sensed and reported via the LCD screen and the MyDyson App. Other competitor formaldehyde sensors are gel-based, which can affect their precision. The sensor in Dyson’s machine is solid, allowing it to last the lifetime of the machine. Alongside this, the algorithm is intelligent enough to differentiate between VOCs, to provide a precise count of formaldehyde.
1Chinese Home Indoor Formaldehyde White Paper, CHEARI, 2019.
2Government of South Australian, SA Health, Formaldehyde.
3Dingle P and Franklin P, 2002, ‘Formaldehyde Levels and the Factors Affecting These Levels in Homes in Perth, Western Australia’.
4Tested for filtration efficiency at 0.1 microns (EN1822).
5Particle challenge by DEHS oil specified in EN1822 within a chamber specified in ASTM F3150. Tested in Max Mode at IBR US, for whole machine efficiency above 99.95%.