Recently a friend of mine experienced a severe chemical problem with a mildew reducing product he purchased for his home. This individual lives in Florida and goes up north to Minnesota during the summer months. He closes up his home in Florida and runs his air conditioning on an “away” mode to save on electricity. He also purchased 12 of these mildew reducing packets and placed 8 of them in various closets and bedrooms. He has used this product before but never read the Warning label that is in big, bold, red letters on the side of the packet.
Due to high humidity in Florida during the summer months it is necessary to keep your air conditioning running for at least 50% of the time when you are gone to ensure the humidity levels stay below at least 60%. If you don’t the clothing, carpets and curtains can get wet if the dew point is reached in the home mold and mildew problems will occur.
The mildew reducing material used by my friend stated in their warning ……”Not to be used in an UNOCCUPIED area”. That’s right. They obviously found that using this product in an area where the air was stagnant or the temperature and humidity levels were too high could create a problem. And it did!
This product contained 91% Paraformaldehyde and the rest of the compound was inert material. This level of this type of formaldehyde is way above the threshold level for occupied areas let alone unoccupied areas. When a neighbor who was looking after the friends home while he was away went into the home he almost past out. The fumes burned his eyes, nose and throat and some of the metal statues in the home were tarnished and etched. He called the fire department who eventually called Hazmat and they quarantined the home.
A professional restoration company was called in and they placed fans, carbon adsorption systems and a ozone generator to both assist in the oxidation and removal of the formaldehyde. As of this writing the carbon system and ozone generator are still there.
The issue here is that even though many products that contain chemical components are sold in hardware and discount stores does not mean they are automatically safe to use. The warning labels are there for a reason and should be taken seriously. Know what you are dealing with and if you have any questions contact a professional or the manufacturer.
Pure Air Systems has been manufacturing HEPA and Carbon based air filtration systems for the residential, commercial, institutional and industrial markets since 1985. Their website has a great amount of information relating to chemical compounds and the ability of the PAS systems to remove those harmful chemicals. For more information go to: www.pureairsystems.com.