Gas testing pump (C) Daniel Friedman Formaldehyde Gas Test Kits, Instruments, Meters
Formaldehyde Gas (Formalin Gas) Concentration or Screening Test Devices & Options to detect HCHO

  • FORMALDEHYDE GAS TEST KITS, METERS - CONTENTS: a listing & description of formaldehyde gas detection opotions ranging from simple badges or exposure tests to formaldehyde detection meters, concentration measurement equipment & fomraldehyde emission test chambers. What instruments or test kits can be used to test for toxic formaldehyde gases indoors?.
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Formaldehyde Gas Detection, Test Methods: formaldehyde test kits, formaldehyde detection instruments, chamber test specifications & formaldehyde test laboratories:

How to measure for formaldehyde outgassing or gas exposure hazards indoors. This article describes different formaldehyde testing methods & lists suppliers of each type of formaldehyde test.

Page to photo, the author's GasTech™ pump using a colorimetric gas detection tube in a private home.

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Formaldehyde Gas Characteristics, Toxicity, Simple Gas Exposure Measurements

Photograph of a Drager hand pump used to measure carbon dioxide levels in the environment.

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Watch out: no gas exposure test will accurately describe the actual human exposure levels in a building if the test is not properly conducted. The risks are of both Type 1 Errors (a false positive result) and Type 2 Errors (a false negative result). That is to say that depending on how it was conducted, your test may indicate a costly, actionable problem where in fact there is not one (a false positive) or your formaldehyde (or any other) test may indicate that there is no hazard or no problem when in truth there is one (a false negative result). is an independent publisher of building, environmental, and forensic inspection, diagnosis, and repair information for the public - we have no business nor financial connection with any manufacturer or service provider discussed at our website.

Tips for Identifying a Formaldehyde Source in a Building

Drager's Bio-Check-F for formaldehyde offers a helpful suggestion for using a formaldehyde gas sensor to track down the probable source of formaldehyde in a building.

Using two test devices (two formaldehyde detection badges, two Bio-Check-F's for example) one detector is placed suspended in air in the room, ideally at head or chest height near the room center.

A second detector is placed on the suspected outgassing surface: a floor, carpet padding, furniture, cabinet.

Both detectors are left in place for the same time period and without changing other room conditions (such as ventilation or occupancy or use).

By comparing the detector readings the user may be able to confirm that the suspected source is indeed the point of origin of formaldehyde if she observes that the source detector has a higher formaldehyde reading than the suspended-in-air detector.

To construct a "worst case" test which in our opinion does not describe occupant exposure levels in a building but might help confirm the source of formaldehyde we might try using a badge type tester under a metal shield over a measured surface area. See the enclosed foil cover described

See MOLD / ENVIRONMENTAL EXPERT, HIRE ? for help in deciding if it is probably appropriate to hire an expert to help sort out the question of a building-related illness.

Watch out: beware of self-styled experts who are going to just stop by and perform a test. Without a careful client interview, a taking of the building's history, an observation of its site, construction, materials, history, and other related factors, an environmental test performed alone may give disappointing and expensive results that are not useful: even if a test indicates there is a problem you may have to hire someone over again to perform much the same work in order to find the problem source and to recommend appropriate corrective measures.

The American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) has published "AIHA Formaldehyde Resource Center" (April 2015) which recommends that consumers "... hire an industrial hygienist or trained professional to conduct air sampling." adding that

If you decide to use a home screening test kit to collect a sample, make sure that the samples collected are sent to a qualified, accredited laboratory to test for the presence of formaldehyde. These kits typically contain a small formaldehyde sampler, known as a dosimeter. Be sure to follow all instructions provided with the sampler, and send the device promptly to the laboratory when sampling is complete. - source: AIHA, retrieved 22 April 2015, original source:

Really? In fact testing your home for formaldehyde may not be appropriate nor necessary.

Formaldehyde gas test kits

Badge type formaldehyde test kit Drager Bio-CHeck formaldehyde test kit - contact information is given in this article.

Watch out: not just costs but ease of use, accuracy, reporting range or formaldehyde concentration, minimum measurement time interval (2 hours to 24-48 hours), temperature & humidity sensitivity, toxicity and other features vary among badge type and home test kits for formaldehyde. Some of these formaldehyde tests give a direct reading at the end of the measurement intervals. Others must be processed by a laboratory. Some test prices include lab processing fees while others may not. And some tests are sensitive to other contaminants or substances in the environment while others are not or are less-so.

Formaldehyde gas HCHO detection instruments

Several companies produce instruments capable of detecting formaldehyde quickly and accurately.

Watch out: for other chemicals in the test environment that can interfere with formaldehyde measurement. Be sure to review the formaldehyde detection instrument manufacturer's instructions, equipment specifications, use procedure, and take note of interferents that may be present in the test environment and that can interfere with the response to formaldehyde.

Typical interferents vary depending on the formaldehyde detector's technology. For example interferents with electrochemical formaldehyde monitors include acetone, acetaldehyde, ammonia if at high concentrations, butanol (at high temperatures), carbon monoxide, ethylene, ethanol, glutaraldehyde, methanol, phenol, possibly also propanol (at high tempreatures) and resorcinol. Typically the instrument will include a filter than can reduce the effects of at least some interferents - provided the filter is properly maintained.

Formaldehyde 0.2/a gas detector hand pump & tube test - Draeger

Drager colorimetric gas detection tubes for formaldehyde detection

Because this gas is produced at virtually all house fires and because it is a well-known respiratory and eye irritant produced by many building materials even without combustion effects, if there are owner/occupant complaints, this test may be performed using the

Drager CMS monitor & chip set for formaldehyde detection -

Watch out: prices range widely but so do true accuracy and reliability of different approaches to testing for formaldehyde or other gases. Some of these instruments are made in China.

Also see GAS DETECTION INSTRUMENTS is an independent publisher of building, environmental, and forensic inspection, diagnosis, and repair information for the public - we have no business nor financial connection with any manufacturer or service provider discussed at our website.

Environmental Test Firms offering Laminate Flooring & Other Formaldehyde Testing Services

A number of forensic laboratories offer formaldehyde testing services including testing laminate floor samples, carpet samples, carpet padding, particle board, etc. You can find these services by several means:

Please do not contact to request technical or lab services. Although we maintain a forensic test laboratory that facility is principally for research purposes and except for limited pro-bono work we do not accept samples for analysis.

Watch out: Be sure to discuss the test procedures & methodology to be certain that the test performed will accurately describe the formaldehyde exposure levels in the building of concern under normal occupancy conditions.

Formaldehyde Gas Characteristics, Toxicity, Gas Exposure Limits

This topic, exposure limits for formaldehyde or HCHO or formalin is now found

Watch out: while a gas detection instrument may itself be highly sensitive and very accurate, variations in building condtions can cause a gas to be present at times and below the limit of detection at other times. Therefore when a gas detection test gives negative results (no gas detected) you should not rely on that result alone if there is a risk of unsafe conditions. For example
see CARBON MONOXIDE - CO poisoning.

Tips for Consumer Do-It-Yourself Formaldehyde Testing

Watch out: the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) and other experts warn that a DIY formaldehyde test could be misleading.

If occupants of a building have health-related complaints that seem to occur or worsen after spending time in the building and that diminish when spending time out of the building, it is possible that something within the building may be causing or contributing to those complaints. Building-related complaints of watery eyes, burning sensation in the eyes, nose, or throat, headaches, or complaints of respiratory distress, chemical odors, or advice from a doctor are all valid reasons that investigation of indoor air quality or testing for formaldehyde (or for other substances) may be in order.
Air monitoring devices are available for measuring formaldehyde in homes, however the accuracy and sensitivity among the different devices varies significantly. The use of some testing devices requires specific training and analysis by a qualified laboratory.

... without a testing strategy and the appropriate expertise, even a highly accurate precise test for formaldehyde can give misleading results, either indicating a problem where there is none or missing a problem that actually exists. Tests indicating that formaldehyde is present will not necessarily indicate the source, and may not accurately represent occupant exposure. You may have to pay twice: once to have a test performed and again to have an expert give advice on what actions to take based on more diagnostic test results.
- AIHA (2015)

With that caveat made, CIH Bud Offermann has offered the following suggestions:

Passive samplers that utilize DNPH, often have good accuracy and sensitivity for measuring formaldehyde concentrations in homes. These samplers are relatively easy to use.

The samplers are hung securely a minimum of 12 inches from any surfaces for 2 days, while keeping all windows closed. The samplers are started and stopped by simply uncapping and capping the inlet cover, while recording the start and stop date/time. The samples are then mailed to an AIHA accredited laboratory for analyses by HPLC (ASTM D 5197). The total cost of a sampler and the lab analyses should be about $100 per sample.

Once you have received the lab results, you are going to want to know if the formaldehyde concentrations represent a problem, as all homes have some formaldehyde in the air, primarily from composite wood products (e.g., flooring, cabinetry, furniture).

The California EPA (OEHHA) recommends a concentration of no more than 7 ppb for long-term chronic exposure and 45 ppb for acute 1-hour exposures. These exposure guidelines were established for non-cancer irritant effects (e.g., eyes, nose, respiratory system) with consideration for sensitive individuals as well as safety factors, such that no adverse effects are anticipated at concentrations below these guidelines. Note that more than 90% of new homes in the California new home study (Offermann, 2009) exceed the 7 ppb chronic exposure guideline, and 25% of new homes exceed the 45 ppb one hour exposure guideline.

The OSHA Permissible Exposure Level for formaldehyde is 750 ppb for an 8-hour work-day. It should be emphasized that occupational exposure guidelines, such as OSHA, are not appropriate for use in non-occupational settings such as residences because of the presence of sensitive individuals (e.g. children, elderly, asthmatics) and the potential for much longer exposures that 40 hours per week.

If the concentrations of formaldehyde are above the typical range of indoor concentrations observed (i.e. 100 ppb - see Figure 1) then further investigation is certainly warranted to identify the source and mitigation strategies that can reduce the indoor concentrations.

It is important to note that air samples such as these will tell you how much formaldehyde is in the air of your home, but will NOT tell you where the formaldehyde is coming from.

There are many indoor sources of formaldehyde, including composite wood products such as laminate flooring, particleboard, medium density fiberboard, plywood, as well as permanent press fabrics, paints and coatings, lacquer and finishes, glues, and some thermal insulation products. If you suspect your laminate flooring is a large formaldehyde emitter, then you can get some information by placing one sampler in an empty room with the laminate flooring, but without any furniture or cabinetry or other contents. If the lab results indicate a high concentration in the room with just the flooring, then that is a pretty good indication that the flooring may be a significant emitter of formaldehyde.

Finally, if you want to “prove” that the laminate flooring is causing the formaldehyde concentration in your home to be unacceptably high, then you need to have the formaldehyde emission rates from the flooring measured at a laboratory.

These tests consist of testing a 8 inch by 8 inch sample of the flooring in a stainless steel emission rate test chamber. Industrial Hygiene experts performing field investigations are informed about valid and useful indoor air quality investigation methods and equipment.

- Bud Offermann PE CIH, Indoor Environmental Engineering, 1448 Pine Street, Suite 103,. San Francisco, CA 94109, Tel: 415-567-7700, E-mail:, Website:

Indoor Environmental Engineering also provides this Laminate Flooring Formaldehyde Fact Sheet -


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