What is formaldehyde?

Formaldehyde, or HCHO, is a colorless, flammable gas with a pungent odor. It is used in the production of pressed wood products (urea resins in plywood wall paneling, particleboard, and fiberboard), fertilizer, permanent press products and other textiles, paper, and glues. It is also produced during the burning of organic materials and is a part of tobacco smoke.

How can I be exposed to formaldehyde?

How can formaldehyde affect my health?

Exposure to formaldehyde can cause eye, nose, throat, and skin irritation. It can also cause wheezing and coughing, headache, nausea, and severe allergic reactions. People with asthma or other respiratory problems may be more sensitive to the effects of inhaling formaldehyde. There is evidence that some people can develop a sensitivity to formaldehyde after routinely being exposed to low levels of it over a period of time (these people developed asthma symptoms and skin reactions). Formaldehyde has also been show to cause cancer in animals and is listed as a probable human carcinogen, meaning that it may cause cancer in people.

How can I reduce my exposure to formaldehyde?

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Content Source: Environmental Toxicology Program, Indoor Air Quality Program