Thursday, 24 April 2008

CFMEU calls for household formaldehyde probe

Australia's biggest building union is calling for the Federal Government to start an urgent large-scale investigation into the use of formaldehyde in household products.

The Government has already confirmed up to 50 Northern Territory intervention staff and police officers were exposed to concerning levels of the substance in the converted shipping containers they were living in for six months.

The Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) says high levels of the dangerous carcinogen could be found in thousands of Australian homes as it is used in particle board and furniture.

The CFMEU's health and safety coordinator, Martin Kingham, says union members are exposed to the potentially carcinogenic substance in their daily work.

He says the health concerns extend to householders as well.

"There's also a long-term health effect for ordinary householders - particularly when you think of a kitchen, kitchen cupboards, that's where you store food, and tests have indicated that the formaldehyde cures out of the product into the air for up to 20 years after it's been installed," he said.

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