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A home inspector tests formaldehyde emissions at a home in Qingdao Camiseta Argentina Mundial 2018 , Shandong Province in October. Photo: Courtesy of Wang Qinghua
A survey of Shandong city homes found that 97 percent have excessive levels of carcinogenic formaldehyde in the air, emitted by compound wood decorations
Chinese doctors have found evidence that living in a newly renovated home increases a child's chance of developing leukemia by over 4 times
Despite these damages, there are exaggerated risk claims spreading in China which increase public panic over an issue industry regulators have pledged to solve in coming years
Smog has never been a bigger issue for the Chinese public. While a few years ago most ignored it or were ignorant of its risks, now many people take precautions from wearing masks to staying at home on smoggy days with the windows closed. But is shutting yourself up at home really safe?
The answer seems to be, in many cases Camiseta Argentina Futbol , no. Wang Qinghua, a home safety inspector in Jinan, East China's Shandong Province, recently found excessive levels of formaldehyde gas, a carcinogen Camiseta Cristian Pavon Mundial 2018 , in 97 out of the 100 households he surveyed, with 72 homes having at least three times of the national standard of gas density.
Indoor formaldehyde contamination is closely linked to home renovation, with the gas mostly emitted by composite wood furniture products including particleboard, medium density fiberboard (MDF) or plywood. Some of the houses Wang found with excessive levels of formaldehyde were last renovated five years ago.
Studies show that these wood products can emit formaldehyde for three to 15 years. Song says the only way to fight this issue is to eliminate all formaldehyde from furniture.
""While putting increasing concern on outdoor air pollution, people should also raise awareness of indoor pollution Camiseta Fernando Belluschi Mundial 2018 , which is invisible and might be even more hazardous,"" Wang told the Global Times.
Many people attribute indoor pollution to backwards emissions standards and loose industry regulation. However, Song Guangsheng, director of the National Quality Supervision and Inspection Center for Indoor Environment and Environmental Products, rejects these accusations.
""China's standards are actually similar to foreign countries'. Government regulations are strict. The major problem is the trend toward smaller home spaces and over-improvement Camiseta Emiliano Rigoni Mundial 2018 ,"" Song told the Global Times.
The majority of composite wood products do not release excessive amounts of toxins into the air, Song claimed. But when many new pieces of furniture are packed into a confined, poorly ventilated space, the total density of formaldehyde naturally increase and will often surpass the limit, he argued.
""The only solution is to produce zero-formaldehyde products. Now a few manufacturers in China have already successfully developed new technology which can make composite wood panels without polluting Camiseta Agustin Marchesin Mundial 2018 ,"" he noted. ""But due to the novel method and technology, the barrier to promoting this new way of manufacture remains huge.""
Healthy at home?
Wang, who runs a home inspection company in Jinan, cooperated with QLTV, a local television channel Camiseta Alejandro Gomez Mundial 2018 , and conducted indoor air quality checks at 100 households in 11 Shandong cities in November.
The survey showed that only three of the households checked had safe levels of formaldehyde. They were all simply decorated, with just floor tiles and solid wood furniture.
China in 2001 issued formaldehyde emission limits for domestic wood-based panels and finishing products. It says that the formaldehyde emissions of MDF and particleboard used for indoor decorations shouldn't exceed 9 mg100g (see table) and the emissions of plywood shouldn't exceed 1.5 mgL.
However, indoor pollution didn't decrease after these regulations were released. Song said their survey about 10 years ago showed that air quality in about 60 percent of newly decorated houses was substandard.
""But the situation didn't improve. Today's surveys in some regions show that the ratio has risen to 80 percent,"" Song lamented.
Wang believes that the substandard quality of furniture and building materials is the major reason. ""There is a huge variety of decorating materials. The makers all claim that they are environmentally friendly. But the facts are always dissatisfactory,"" he said.
Wang and his colleagues recently surveyed six kinds of compound wood panels and found that none of them met emission standards. ""The toxic substance emission standards are there Camiseta Paulo Dybala Mundial 2018 , but implementation is poor,"" he lamented.
However, Song disagrees. He said that the authorities are concerned about the issue and check and update the list of rule-breaking manufacturers nearly every month.
He argued that the major problem is excessive and lavish decoration. In addition, to pack more rooms into a building, real estate developers tend to lower ceilings Camiseta Giovani Lo Celso Mundial 2018 , thus room sizes become smaller and the density of air pollution gets more severe.
Some media also blamed the problem on outdated formaldehyde emissions limits. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, the country has changed its formaldehyde emission standards in recent years. Their regulation says that particleboard's formaldehyde emissions shouldn't exceed 0.09 ppm (parts per million). The Worker's Daily claimed this is one 1,000th of the Chinese limit in a report last month.
However, experts say the numbers can't be directly compared due to different testing methods. Song added that many Chinese manufacturers have upgraded their technology and voluntarily follow stricter standards than the national limit.
Wang doesn't think raising the standards alone can solve the problems in China.
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