RV Toilet Chemicals Still Have Formaldehyde...REALLY?

Question: Why do they still sell toilet chemicals with formaldehyde in them? I haven’t used them in years, but still see them on the shelves of reputable stores.

Mark Says: Some states like California have been fighting to ban using formaldehyde in holding tank chemicals. The reason manufacturer’s use it is because formaldehyde does a good job controlling odors.

I should start by addressing what many consider the problem to be with formaldehyde in holding tank chemicals. Certain chemical additives like formaldehyde can cause septic tank failures by killing the bacteria needed for a septic tank to operate properly. The way formaldehyde controls odors is by killing the bacteria that causes the odor. So it kills the bacteria in the RV holding tanks as it attempts to control odors.

When you empty your holding tank the formaldehyde also kills the bacteria used to breakdown the wastes in the septic tank. When this happens over a period of time, like at a campground the septic tank can’t operate properly and the septic system gets clogs resulting in health risks and high costs to repair the problem.

So, what can we as RVers do to help? Even though formaldehyde helps control odors you should use holding tank deodorizers that do not contain formaldehyde. Look for enzyme or citrus based products that are biodegradable for use in your RV or boat and pass the word along to other RVers..

Happy RV Learning,

Mark Polk

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