Formaldehyde is a colorless, flammable, strong-smelling chemical that is used in building materials and to produce many household products. It is used in pressed-wood products, such as particleboard, plywood, and fiberboard; glues and adhesives; permanent-press fabrics; paper product coatings; and certain insulation materials. In addition, formaldehyde is commonly used as an industrial fungicide, germicide, and disinfectant, and as a preservative in mortuaries and medical laboratories. Formaldehyde also occurs naturally in the environment. It is produced in small amounts by most living organisms as part of normal metabolic processes.
Routes of exposure
The substance can be absorbed into the body by inhalation.
A harmful concentration of this gas in the air will be reached very quickly on loss of containment.
Effects of short-term exposure
The substance is severely irritating to the eyes and respiratory tract. Inhalation of high concentrations may cause lung oedema, but only after initial corrosive effects on the eyes and the upper respiratory tract have become manifest.
Effects of long-term or repeated exposure
Repeated or chronic inhalation of the vapour may cause chronic inflammation of the upper respiratory tract. Repeated or prolonged contact may cause skin sensitization. This substance is carcinogenic to humans.
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