If you buy a piece of furniture built with particleboard, you can take steps to eliminate the smell of formaldehyde. It's an ingredient of the resin that binds the wood chips in particleboard. Some people are more sensitive to formaldehyde than others, but elevated levels in the air can cause respiratory problems for almost anyone. The Environmental Protection Agency and Occupational Safety and Health Administration both list formaldehyde as a "probable human carcinogen," so it's in everybody's best interest to keep atmospheric levels of this chemical to a minimum.

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Ventilate any room that has items manufactured with particleboard. Increase air flow by opening doors and windows. This allows the formaldehyde smells to dissipate.

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Keep the temperature and humidity in the room at a moderate level, since high temperatures and humidity can exacerbate formaldehyde smells. Consider using an air conditioning unit or dehumidifier to control moisture and temperature.

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Use a commercial odor absorber to remove existing formaldehyde gas fumes from the air. These systems include a canister of absorbing material and a fan unit to disperse it.

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Fill the rooms with odor-absorbing greenery. A variety of plants can absorb formaldehyde fumes, including chrysanthemums, Boston ferns and dwarf date palms.