SINGAPORE: An online user recently took to social media to share a BTO bomb shelter issue, claiming to have noticed a “toxic” smell. “Whenever we enter, our eyes feel irritated and there’s a sharp, unpleasant smell,” he added.
A Reddit user took to an online news forum on Wednesday (July 26) to share an issue with a BTO bomb shelter. “Hi, has anyone experienced this before?” the netizen wrote.
“My BTO bomb shelter has some kinda toxic fume. We do not store paint in the bomb shelter, but we do have many other items like old books, bags, PCs and so on,” the post said.
According to the netizen, despite efforts to get rid of the strong smell, it’s still there. “This has happened since the beginning when we started living here,” the Reddit user wrote. “I put a Xiaomi air purifier and a thirsty hippo inside, but it doesn’t help.”
The netizen then turned to other Singaporeans on the forum for their thoughts on the matter, asking, “Is it just stale air and can be resolved by keeping the bomb shelter door open, or is there something else causing the air to be slightly toxic?”
Several people in the comments section reported experiencing the same thing with their homes. “I remember experiencing that sensation after moving into our newly renovated BTO house the first time, several years ago,” said one. “High chance it’s formaldehyde like the other Redditor suggested. Those fumes took a long time to completely dissipate, despite similar efforts.”
The netizen suggested buying formaldehyde absorbent gel, adding, “I only came across it by chance on Instagram a few months ago and many seem to swear by it. It should significantly help you with removing those fumes quicker.”
One of the commenters shared insights into the chemistry of the smell. “As a chemistry graduate from years ago (but now in a different field), my guess is this is likely to be formaldehyde, especially if it is a new flat, newly-renovated flat, or a room that you have not opened in ages,” the comment read.
“Mould is unlikely for a bomb shelter unless yours is moist or flooded with water, because mould, which is a fungi, needs water to grow and spread. Formaldehyde is a chemical classified as a VOC (Volatile Organic Compound), and it is a known carcinogen based on the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). It is an essential material in paint on walls, building equipment, oil paints, etc.”
The online user went on to add, “It shouldn’t be a problem usually, but if the level increases (like in an enclosed space, because high volume of the chemical in a small space), some people have breathing problems or irritation of the eyes, nose, throat, or skin from formaldehyde exposure in their home. It takes usually around two years for newly built houses (especially enclosed spaces like bomb shelter) to average out the VOC levels to the levels of an average room.”
Still, another wrote, “I think you meant pungent fumes and not toxic fumes? Toxic – poisonous, fatal. Pungent – bad smelling, repulsive.”
Have you had a similar experience?