Formaldehyde Allergy IgE Blood Test
The formaldehyde allergy test measures the amount of allergen-specific IgE antibodies in the blood in order to detect an allergy to formaldehyde.
Formaldehyde is a strong-smelling, colorless gas used in manufacturing construction materials and many household items. It is used in objects made of pressed wood, such as fiberboard, particleboard, and plywood; fabrics made of permanent press; adhesives and glues; paper product coatings; and some insulation materials. It is used to produce other chemicals as well.
In the air, formaldehyde is rapidly broken down, generally within hours. It dissolves quickly in water, but there, too, it does not last long. When dissolved in water, it is called formalin, which is widely used in funeral homes and medical laboratories as an industrial disinfectant and as a preservative. It can also be used as a preservative in certain foods and products, such as antiseptics, drugs, and cosmetics.
Often, while formaldehyde is not used, formaldehyde-releasing compounds are used. These have been used in cosmetics, cleaning products, soaps, shampoos, sunscreens, and lotions. Formaldehyde can be added to food as a preservative but is also produced by smoking and cooking. Additionally, formaldehyde is naturally present in the environment.
The most common way that individuals are exposed to formaldehyde is by inhaling it. The liquid form can soak into the skin. Individuals can further be exposed to small quantities by consuming foods or drinking liquids containing formaldehyde. It is a natural process for formaldehyde to be produced in the body. It is broken down into formate (formic acid) by enzymes in the body, which can be then be broken down into carbon dioxide. The cells lining the mouth, nose, throat, and airways break down the majority of inhaled formaldehyde so that less than a third is absorbed into the blood.
Like every allergy, a formaldehyde allergy causes a reaction in the immune system. When contact is made with the allergen, the body views it as toxic and becomes sensitized, producing IgE antibodies against these contaminants. These antibodies trigger the release of histamines, which will cause the symptoms of an allergic reaction.
Allergy symptoms vary from one individual to the next ranging from mild to severe reactions. Some common symptoms can include one or more of the following:
- Watery eyes
- Burning sensations of the eyes, nose, and throat
- Skin irritation
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