Formaldehyde is a toxic VOC.  It can be inhaled or  absorbed through the skin.  It is colorless and strong-smelling.  Airborne concentrations of more than 0.1 ppm of formaldehyde can cause irritation of the respiratory tract and the severity of irritation worsens as concentrations increase. With higher concentrations or more acute exposure it is highly irritating to the eyes, nose, and throat and can make you cough and wheeze. Subsequent exposure may cause severe allergic reactions of the skin, and eyes. Long-term exposure to low levels in the air or on the skin can cause asthma-like  respiratory problems and skin irritation such as dermatitis and itching.  If ingested it can be fatal.  This chemical is especially dangerous to children and the Government requires that all materials capable of releasing it at levels above 0.5 ppm during normal use, must contain a label with the words “potential cancer hazard.”

Since it was discovered that FEMA trailers provided by the Federal Government to victims of Hurricane Katrina had high levels of formaldehyde it has been in the limelight.  In fact the  government had to destroy or get rid of more than 115,000 of these units .  But formaldehyde is not just present in emergency trailers.  It is a major component of so many products that it is found everywhere and anywhere and your ability to escape from it is nearly impossible.

In homes it can be found in particleboard used as sub-flooring, shelving, cabinetry and furniture.  It is found on hardwood, on plywood, in fiberglass insulation, in carpets, drapes, clothing in your shoes and sneakers.   It is used on wallpaper, in ceiling tiles, as part of the glue that binds components together in hollow doors.  It is used in paints, varnishes and glues, Its in the rubber foam in cushions, and on vinyls or leather which cover your couch or easy chair.   Goodly amounts of it are released into the air when you burn wood in your fireplace, or when you burn natural gas when you cook, or through the combustion process when you heat your house.  It’s used to make one of the adhesives that hold mattresses together

It’s on your sheets and pillow cases and quilts as a fire retardant.  It’s used as a molding compound for toilet seats, electrical articles, household items, bathroom accessories and even buttons.  It’s in plastic  knives forks spoons, cooking utensils,, on permanent press fabrics, on paper products like toilet paper, facial tissue, napkins, and paper towels, Your copy paper has it, as does ink or toner in your printer, or the ink in your pen, or the dollar bills in your wallet. Your newspapers and magazines, and books all have it in their print.

Its in your dishware, in cardboard packaging you buy your foods in.   In household cleansers, in   bubble bath, disinfectants, mouthwash, toothpaste and soap. Even in flea and tick shampoo for cats and in shampoo you use for yourself.  It’s in nail polish, deodorants, cosmetics and perfumes.  In fabric softeners and air fresheners.  Its part of that hard gelatin pill coating on your medicine and its even placed in beer.  Diet Cola has aspertane used as a substitute for natural sweeteners, which decomposes into formaldehyde if your soda is not refrigerated.   It is used as an antibacterial food additive and is a mildew preventative found on fruits and vegetables.  It is a major component of smog which seeps into your house through the ventilation system, through your windows and doors.   Truly there is hardly place where formaldehyde is not found and although the majority of these products contain low concentrations (< 0.2%), the accumulation of the daily dose you receive becomes truly significant when multiplied by the number of products that you come in contact with every day.

Annual world production of formaldehyde in 2005 was 21 million tones, or 46 billion pounds. But nowadays Europe alone produces 33 million tones which means that each and every person on Earth “receives” several pounds of formaldehyde yearly and almost all of the products made with it off gas toxins into the air.

Yet there are very few indoor air purification systems which are able to get rid of it.  However active plant air purification systems can remove it easily.

Present air purifiers on the market which remove it in the United States are the IQAir GCX Chemisorber which sells for ($2,000) and the IQAir GC Chemisorber which sells for $1045 .

The smart portable plant air purifier which Phytofilter Technologies intends to produce and sell will market for only $399 and will do as good a job at formaldehyde remover as the two mentioned above.  Plus the smart portable plant air  purifier that we will produce  will require no filter bed replacement .

Below is shown the formaldehyde removal capabilities of the Eco Planter, a  plant air purifier marketed in Japan.


Removal Rates
5.5 84,742
3.5 74,772
2.0 49,848
1.0 24,924
0.5 4,985
0.1 2,492 

This unit was tested in a FEMA trailer by the Sierra Club and in just a few days brought formaldehyde levels down to one sixth of what they were, down to a level of just 0.03 ppm, a level more than considered safe by the EPA. 

But because the unit was not user friendly and because the inhabitants of the FEMA trailer did not water the plant within the purifier, or give it light, the plant died within a few days.

Phytofilter Technologies’ portable plant air purifier will have equal or better formaldehyde removing capabilities than the Eco Planter.  It will have a larger reservoir, a light, a timer, plus computer capabilities which will shut off the fan when water runs low. This will overcome the problems faced by the Eco Planter.

Given that formaldehyde is so pervasive and given that so many people suffer from its effects, Phytofilter Technologies active plant air purifiers will fill a great need and be very cost competitive.