Zero Formaldehyde operation

Formaldehyde is contained in many products that we use daily but what is it and what are the risks we take when we come in contact with it?

 

 

La formaldeide, o aldeide formica, a pressione e temperatura ordinaria è un gas incolore, dall'odore pungente. Molto nota a livello industriale è anche la soluzione della formaldeide in acqua, composto che prende il nome di formalina e che viene impiegato come disinfettante industriale, come conservante nei laboratori medici ma anche in campo alimentare.
La formaldeide, la cui molecola fu scoperta a metà del 1800 da un chimico tedesco, ha la proprietà di uccidere batteri, funghi e virus, perciò viene largamente impiegata come disinfettante e conservante in moltissime produzioni industriali: mobili, vernici, truciolati, colle, detersivi, materiali isolanti e anche nel settore tessile.

Essendo un gas, viene rilasciato nell’aria, provocando irritazioni e bruciori a occhi, naso e gola, ma anche cefalee, stanchezza e malessere generale.  Oltre a questo, provoca dermatite per contatto, attacchi di asma, tosse, stanchezza, sonnolenza, emicrania, nausea e vertigini.
Ovviamente la gravità dei sintomi cresce con l’aumentare della sua concentrazione nell’aria e anche molto in base alla salute degli esposti, alla loro età e alla loro suscettibilità alla sostanza.  

L’Agenzia Internazionale per la ricerca sul cancro, l’AIRC, l’ha inserita sin dal 2004 nell’elenco delle sostanze considerate cancerogene per la specie umana: l’esposizione a quantità consistenti di formaldeide è infatti potenzialmente letale.
Viene spontaneo pensare sia dunque bandita dal mercato ma purtroppo non è così. La normativa ne impedisce l’utilizzo in larga scala permettendone l’impiego in bassi dosaggi non azzerando così il pericolo per la salute.

Nel settore tessile viene utilizzata in resine chiamate “antipiega” usate per migliorare la stabilità dimensionale dei manufatti. Tali sostanze vengono introdotte nelle fasi di finissaggio di tessuti cotonieri  con lo scopo di ottenere effetti di stabilità e mano resi indispensabili dalle aspettative del mercato, rimanendo, come detto, altamente nocive per l’uomo e l’ambiente.

Dalla fine degli anni '80 hanno acquisito maggiore importanza le informazioni riguardanti la presenza di sostanze chimiche pericolose nei materiali tessili e con loro è cresciuto anche il livello di allarme tra i media e le associazioni dei consumetori.
A causa di ciò, numerosi Paesi Europei hanno iniziato a studiare le problematiche legate a questo fenomeno e contemporaneamente sono nati diversi marchi ecologici che basano i loro prodotti tessili sulla eco-compatibilità dei processi e sulla non tossicità per gli utilizzatori finali. Proprio come l'Opificio che, essendo un'azienza al 100%  formaldehyde free  , dimostra che i tessuti possono essere di altissima qualità ed estetica ed essere prodotti nel rispetto dell’uomo e dell’ambiente. I tessuti l’Opificio non contengono formaldeide né altri tipi di sostanze nocive.

FederlegnoArredo , dall'aprile 2015 è diventata partner del progetto di ricerca Eco-Presswood che ha preso il via nel marzo 2014. Tale progetto, coordinato dai centri di ricerca INSPIRALIA e CETEM, punta a sviluppare un nuovo tipo di resina termoindurente priva di formaldeide. Cosa che assicura numerosi benefici ambientali ed economici per le aziende e i lavoratori. Inoltre, in questo modo, le imprese possono accedere più facilmente a mercati in cui vigono restrizioni severe, quali Canada, Giappone e USA.

L’ EPA (Environment Protection Agency), infatti, ha definito, a partire dal 1° giugno 2018, l’entrata in vigore negli Stati Uniti d’America del regolamento relativo all’emissione di formaldeide dai prodotti compositi di legno (Formaldehyde Emission Standards for Composite Wood Products Rule) adottando i limiti di emissione di formaldeide fissati dal CARB (California Air Resources Board).
Questa norma impone a produttori, importatori, distributori e trasformatori di prodotti compositi di legno il rispetto dei limiti di emissione di formaldeide.
I prodotti importati in America o i loro imballaggi dovranno poi essere etichettati come conformi al Titolo VI del TSCA  (Toxic Substances Control Act) riportando il nome del produttore, il numero di lotto e la dichiarazione che il prodotto è conforme alle normative.

Formaldehyde, at its ordinary pressure and temperature, is a colorless gas with a strong smell. The solution of formaldehyde in water, a compound named formalin which is used as an industrial disinfectant, as a preservative in medical laboratories but also in the food sector, is also very well known in the industrial world.
Formaldehyde, whose molecule was discovered in the mid 1800 by a german chemist, has the property of killing bacteria, fungi and viruses, therefore it is widely used as disinfectant and preservative in many industrial productions: furniture, paints, chipboards, glues, detergents, insulating materials and also in the textile sector.

Being a gas, it is released into the air, causing irritation and burning of the eyes, nose and throat, but also headaches, fatigue and general malaise. In addition to this, it causes dermatitis, asthma attacks, coughs, fatigue, drowsiness, migraine, nausea and dizziness.
Obviusly the import of the symptoms grows with the increase of its concentration in the air and also according to the healt of the people exposed, to their age and to their susceptibility to the substance.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer, AIRC; has included it since 2004 in the list of substances considered carcinogenic for the human species: exposure to substantial amounts of formaldehyde is, in fact, potentially lethal.
Therefore, It is spontaneous to think that it is banned from the market but unfortunately it is not. The legislation prevents its use on a large scale allowing its use in low doses, thus not eliminating the danger to health.

In the textile sector it is used in resins called “anti-crease” used to improve the dimensional stability of the products. These substances are introduced in the finishing phase of cotton fabrics in order to obtain stability and the surface feel effects that are essential for market expectations, remaining, as mentioned, highly harmful to man and the environment.

Since the end of the 1980s, information concerning the presence of dangerous chemical substances in textile materials has become more important and the level of alarm between the media and consumer associations has also increased with them.
Because of this, many European countries have begun to study the problems related to this phenomenon and at the same time several ecological brands were borned, which base their textile products on the eco-compatibility of the processes and on the non-toxicity for the final users. Just like l'Opificio which, being a 100% formaldehyde free company, demonstrates that the fabrics can be of the highest quality and aesthatics and be produced in respect of the human being and the environment. l'Opificio's fabrics contain no formaldehyde or other types of harmful substances.

FederlegnoArredo, since April 2015 became partner of the Eco-Presswood research project that started in March 2014. This project, coordinated by INSPIRALIA and CETEM research centers, aims to develop a new type of thermosetting resin without formaldehyde, This will guarantee numerous environmental and economic benefits for companies and workers. In addition, in this way, companies are easily able to access markets where there are severe restrictions such as canada, Japan and USA.

EPA (Environment Protection Agency), in facts, has defined, starting from 1 June 2018, that the regulation about the emission of formaldehyde from wood composite products (Formaldehyde Emission Standards for Composite Wood Product Rule) take effect in United States of America adopting the formaldeyde emission limits set by CARB (California Air Resources Board).
This regulation impose on producers, importers, distributors and transformers of composite wood products the compliance with formaldehyde emission limits.
Products imported into America or their packaging will then have to be labeled as conforming to the TSCA Title VI (Toxic Substances Control Act) with the name of the manufacturer, the lot's number and the declaration that the product complies with the regulations.

Often in Italy there are no clear indications from the competent authorities on how to act. To solve this problem, in November 2016, Lombardy Region published an operative proposal for the management of formaldehyde risk in a company. This document provides useful informations that may represent a point of reference also for non Lombard companies.

This matter is also discussed at the European Commission that is proposing to limit the exposition to carcinogenic, mutagenic and toxic substances for the reproduction (CMR) subduing the entrance on the market of some products that contains them, under the Restriction Procedure.

When the application of this potential restriction will be en force, all garments and relative accessories, the textile products different from garments that, when used in a reasonable matter, will be on contact with the human skin in a similar way as a garment, so as the shoes that contains the listed substances, independently if produced in EU or imported in EU, they won’t be allowed anymore on the EU market.

The proposal aims to ban 33 substances CMR of 1A and 1B category of the following group of substances:

Compound of Cadmium, Chrome, Arsenic and Lead
Benzene and polycyclic aromatic Hydrocarbon
Chlorinated aromatic Hydrocarbon
Formaldehyde
Phthalate
Polar aprotic solvents (termine chimico, non sono riuscita a
Azo-dyes and Arylamine

The European Commision proposal is available at this ….link

For now, while we wait for the use of formaldehyde to be definitively benned, we can follow some precautions, to reduce its danger:
To avoid using products that contain formaldehyde by choosing detergents, paints, clothes, etc. of biological or, at least, natural origin.
To often ventilate the house's rooms to avoid the accumulation of formaldehyde released by the use of detergents, solvents, glues, furnitures, etc. in the rooms.
To carefully close the bottles of cleaning and maintenance products and confine them in tightly closed cabinets and away from food.
To always use natural materials in the construction or rennovation of houses and always prefer natural fabric for upholstery and interiors.

 

The colorful life of the designer Barbara Bertoldo

Barbara Bertoldo talks about herself and her job through colors in the interview of the blogger Carlotta Berta at the Salone del Mobile in Milan

It has been established that colors have a great influence on the mood and on the psychophysical state of people. Our brain suffer the impact of their different shades activating different chemical reactions that can increase or decrease the production of hormones by stimulating emotions and moods such as sadness or cheerfulness.

 

The “power of colors” is used in chromotherapy, an alternative medicine that uses colors as a therapy for the treatement of diseases. According to the supporters of chromotherapy, colors help the body and the psyche to find again their natural balance and they have physical and psychic effects that can stimulate the body and calm certain symptoms.

 

In the same way this concept can also be applied to marketing: in a famous study of 2006, called “Impact of Color in Marketing”, the researchers have shown that the 90% of decisions about the impulse on the purchase of a product can be conditioned by the colors.

 

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