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Formaldehyde ( CASNO:50-00-0 )

Identification and Related Records
CAS Registry number:
Formaldehyde? Formaldehyde, solution, flammable
Formaldehyde, solutions (Formalin) (corrosive)
formalin 40
Formic aldehyde
Melamine-Formaldehyde Resin
Methan 21
Methyl aldehyde
methylene glycol
Methylene oxide
Molecular Formula:
Molecular Weight:
Canonical SMILES:
Chemical and Physical Properties
colorless gas
Melting Point:
Boiling Point:
Refractive Index:
Flash Point:
soluble in water
Nearly colorless gas [Note: Often used in an aqueous solution]. /Pure formaldehyde/
Storage temp:
Spectral properties:
MAX ABSORPTION (GAS): 155.5 NM (LOG E= 4.37); 175 NM (LOG E= 4.26)
Index of refraction: 1.3746 at 20 deg C/D /Formaldehyde soln/
IR: 2538 (Sadtler Research Laboratories Prism Collection)
UV: 3-1 (Organic Electronic Spectral Data, Phillips et al, John Wiley & Sons, New York)
MASS: 37883 (NIST/EPA/MSDC Mass Spectral database, 1990 version); 74 (Atlas of Mass Spectral Data, John Wiley and Sons, NY)
Computed Properties:
Molecular Weight:30.02598 [g/mol]
Molecular Formula:CH2O
H-Bond Donor:0
H-Bond Acceptor:1
Rotatable Bond Count:0
Exact Mass:30.010565
MonoIsotopic Mass:30.010565
Topological Polar Surface Area:17.1
Heavy Atom Count:2
Formal Charge:0
Isotope Atom Count:0
Defined Atom Stereocenter Count:0
Undefined Atom Stereocenter Count:0
Defined Bond Stereocenter Count:0
Undefined Bond Stereocenter Count:0
Covalently-Bonded Unit Count:1
Feature 3D Acceptor Count:1
Effective Rotor Count:0
Conformer Sampling RMSD:0.4
CID Conformer Count:1
Safety and Handling
Hazard Codes:
Risk Statements:
Safety Statements:
Hazard Codes:?T
Risk Statements: 34-40-43-39/23/24/25
34: Causes burns
40: Limited evidence of a carcinogenic effect
43: May cause sensitization by skin contact
39/23/24/25: Toxic: danger of very serious irreversible effects through inhalation, in contact with skin and if swallowed
Safety Statements: 51-45-36/37/39-26
26: In case of contact with eyes, rinse immediately with plenty of water and seek medical advice
45: In case of accident or if you feel unwell, seek medical advice immediately (show label where possible)
51: Use only in well-ventilated areas
36/37/39: Wear suitable protective clothing, gloves and eye/face protection?
RIDADR: UN 1198 3/PG 3
WGK Germany: 2
RTECS: LP8925000
F: 10
HazardClass: 3
PackingGroup: III
Confirmed carcinogen with experimental carcinogenic, tumorigenic, and teratogenic data. Human poison by ingestion. Experimental poison by ingestion, skin contact, inhalation, intravenous, intraperitoneal, and subcutaneous routes. Human systemic effects by inhalation: lachrymation, olfactory changes, aggression, and pulmonary changes. Experimental reproductive effects. Human mutation data reported. A human skin and eye irritant. If swallowed it causes violent vomiting and diarrhea that can lead to collapse. Frequent or prolonged exposure can cause hypersensitivity leading to contact dermatitis, possibly of an eczematoid nature. An air concentration of 20?ppm is quickly irritating to eyes. A common air contaminant. ?

Flammable liquid when exposed to heat or flame; can react vigorously with oxidizers. A moderate explosion hazard when exposed to heat or flame. The gas is a more dangerous fire hazard than the vapor. Should formaldehyde be involved in a fire, irritating gaseous formaldehyde may be evolved. When aqueous formaldehyde solutions are heated above their flash points, a potential for an explosion hazard exists. High formaldehyde concentration or methanol content lowers the flash point. Reacts with sodium hydroxide to yield formic acid and hydrogen. Reacts with NOx at about 180°; the reaction becomes explosive. Also reacts violently with perchloric acid + aniline, performic acid, nitromethane, magnesium carbonate, H2O2. Moderately dangerous because of irritating vapor that may exist in toxic concentrations locally if storage tank is ruptured. To fight fire, stop flow of gas (for pure form); alcohol foam for 37% methanol-free form. When heated to decomposition it emits acrid smoke and fumes. See also ALDEHYDES.

Skin, Eye, and Respiratory Irritations:
Contact with the skin causes irritation, tanning effect, and allergic sensitization. Contact with eyes causes irritation, itching, & lacrimation. ...
Formaldehyde vapor is very irritating to the mucous membranes ... .
Liquid is corrosive. Causes severe eye and skin burns. Vapor is irritating to eye, skin and respiratory system.
...Controlled chamber studies demonstrate that eye irritation is the first sign of sensory irritation in nonacclimatized subjects as the formaldehyde concentration is increased. The threshold for slight eye irritation is near 1.0 ppm. This eye response serves as a warning of exposure and helps to prevent upper respiratory tract irritation, which is seen at higher concentrations.
Cleanup Methods:
Use fluorocarbon water spray, Cellosize and Hycar to diminish vapors. Sodium carbonate, ammonium hydroxide, or sodium sulfite can neutralize the spill.
Use universal gel, fly ash, universal sorbent material, or cement powder to absorb the spill.
Environmental considerations-land spill: Dig a pit, pond, lagoon, holding area to contain liquid or solid material. /SRP: If time permits, pits, ponds, lagoons, soak holes, or holding areas should be sealed with an impermeable flexible membrane liner./ Dike surface flow using soil, sand bags, foamed polyurethane, or foamed concrete. Absorb bulk liquid with fly ash or cement powder. Add sodium bisulfite (NaHSO3).
Environmental considerations-air spill: Apply water spray or mist to knock down vapors. Combustion products include corrosive or toxic vapors.
PRECAUTIONS FOR "CARCINOGENS": A high-efficiency particulate arrestor (HEPA) or charcoal filters can be used to minimize amt of carcinogen in exhausted air ventilated safety cabinets, lab hoods, glove boxes or animal rooms ... Filter housing that is designed so that used filters can be transferred into plastic bag without contaminating maintenance staff is avail commercially. Filters should be placed in plastic bags immediately after removal ... The plastic bag should be sealed immediately ... The sealed bag should be labelled properly ... Waste liquids ... should be placed or collected in proper containers for disposal. The lid should be secured & the bottles properly labelled. Once filled, bottles should be placed in plastic bag, so that outer surface ... is not contaminated ... The plastic bag should also be sealed & labelled. ... Broken glassware ... should be decontaminated by solvent extraction, by chemical destruction, or in specially designed incinerators. /Chemical Carcinogens/
Environmental considerations: water spill: Use natural barriers or oil spill control booms to limit spill travel. Use surface active agent (eg detergent, soaps, alcohols), if approved by USEPA. Inject "universal" gelling agent to solidify encircled spill and increase effectiveness of booms. Add sodium bisulfite (NaHSO3). If dissolved, in region of 10 ppm or greater concentration, apply activated carbon at ten times the spilled amount. ...
Approach release from upwind. Use water spray to cool and disperse vapors, protect personnel, and dilute spills to form nonflammable mixtures. Stop or control the leak, if this can be done without undue risk. Control runoff and isolate discharged material for proper disposal.
UN 1198/2209
Fire Fighting Procedures:
Use water spray, dry chemical, alcohol foam, or carbon dioxide. Use water to keep fire exposed containers cool. If leak or spill has not ignited, use water spray to disperse vapors, and to protect men attempting to stop leak. Water spray may be used to flush spills away from exposures and to dilute spills to nonflammable mixtures.
Approach fire from upwind to avoid hazardous vapors and toxic decomposition products. Use water spray, dry chemical, "alcohol resistant" foam, or carbon dioxide.
If material is on fire or involved in a fire: Do not extinguish fire unless flow can be stopped. Use water in flooding quantities as fog. Solid streams of water may be ineffective. Cool all affected containers with flooding quantities of water. Apply water from as far a distance as possible. Use "alcohol" foam, dry chemical or carbon dioxide.
To fight fire, stop flow of gas (for pure form); alcohol foam for 37% methanol-free form.
Fire Potential:
Flammable liquid when exposed to heat or flame; can react vigorously with oxidizers. ... The gas is a more dangerous fire hazard than the vapor.
Pure formaldehyde is not avail commercially because of its tendency to polymerize. It is sold as aqueous solutions containing from 37% to 50% formaldehyde by wt & varying amounts of methanol.
Marketed under the trade name Formcel, soln in methanol, n-butanol, and isobutanol. ...
Aq formaldehyde, known as formalin, is usually 37% by weight of formaldehyde, though more concn soln are available. Formalin is the general-purpose formaldehyde of commerce supplied unstabilized or methanol-stabilized. ... Formaldehyde may also exist in the form of the cyclic trimer trioxane. This is a fairly stable cmpd that does not easily release formaldehyde. ...
Grade: Aqueous solutions: 37%, 44%, 50% inhibited (with varying percentages of methanol) or stabilized or unstabilized (methanol-free), also available in solution in n-butanol, ethanol, or urea; USP (37% aqueous solution containing methanol).
Soluble concentrate; hot fogging concentrate
Formaldehyde is ... available in the United States as ... as paraformaldehyde. ... Paraformaldehyde is available as a powdered or flaked product that contains the equivalent of 90-93% formaldehyde, a maximum of 9% water, and a maximum of 0.03% acidity as formic acid. It is ... readily soluble in hot water with the evolution of formaldehyde vapors ...
Formalin consists of an aqueous solution of formaldehyde, usually containing about 37% formaldehyde and 12-15% methanol. /Formalin/
DOT Emergency Guidelines:
/GUIDE 132: FLAMMABLE LIQUIDS - CORROSIVE/ Fire or Explosion: Flammable/combustible materials. May be ignited by heat, sparks or flames. Vapors may form explosive mixtures with air. Vapors may travel to source of ignition and flash back. Most vapors are heavier than air. They will spread along ground and collect in low or confined areas (sewers, basements, tanks). Vapor explosion hazard indoors, outdoors or in sewers. Runoff to sewer may create fire or explosion hazard. Containers may explode when heated. Many liquids are lighter than water. /Formaldehyde, solution, flammable; Formaldehyde, solutions (Formalin); Formaldehyde, solutions, (Formalin) (corrosive)/
/GUIDE 132: FLAMMABLE LIQUIDS - CORROSIVE/ Health: May cause toxic effects if inhaled or ingested/swallowed. Contact with substance may cause severe burns to skin and eyes. Fire will produce irritating, corrosive and/or toxic gases. Vapors may cause dizziness or suffocation. Runoff from fire control or dilution water may cause pollution. /Formaldehyde, solution, flammable; Formaldehyde, solutions (Formalin); Formaldehyde, solutions, (Formalin) (corrosive)/
/GUIDE 132: FLAMMABLE LIQUIDS - CORROSIVE/ Public Safety: CALL Emergency Response Telephone Number ... As an immediate precautionary measure, isolate spill or leak area for at least 50 meters (150 feet) in all directions. Keep unauthorized personnel away. Stay upwind. Keep out of low areas. Ventilate closed spaces before entering. /Formaldehyde, solution, flammable; Formaldehyde, solutions (Formalin); Formaldehyde, solutions, (Formalin) (corrosive)/
/GUIDE 132: FLAMMABLE LIQUIDS - CORROSIVE/ Protective Clothing: Wear positive pressure self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA). Wear chemical protective clothing that is specifically recommended by the manufacturer. It may provide little or no thermal protection. Structural firefighters' protective clothing is recommended for fire situations ONLY; it is not effective in spill situations where direct contact with the substance is possible. /Formaldehyde, solution, flammable; Formaldehyde, solutions (Formalin); Formaldehyde, solutions, (Formalin) (corrosive)/
/GUIDE 132: FLAMMABLE LIQUIDS - CORROSIVE/ Evacuation: ... Fire: If tank, rail car or tank truck is involved in a fire, ISOLATE for 800 meters (1/2 mile) in all directions; also, consider initial evacuation for 800 meters (1/2 mile) in all directions. /Formaldehyde, solution, flammable; Formaldehyde, solutions (Formalin); Formaldehyde, solutions, (Formalin) (corrosive)/
/GUIDE 132: FLAMMABLE LIQUIDS - CORROSIVE/ Fire: Some of these materials may react violently with water. Small fires: Dry chemical, CO2, water spray or alcohol-resistant foam. Large fires: Water spray, fog or alcohol-resistant foam. Move containers from fire area if you can do it without risk. Dike fire control water for later disposal; do not scatter the material. Do not get water inside containers. Fire involving tanks or car/trailer loads: Fight fire from maximum distance or use unmanned hose holders or monitor nozzles. Cool containers with flooding quantities of water until well after fire is out. Withdraw immediately in case of rising sound from venting safety devices or discoloration of tank. ALWAYS stay away from tanks engulfed in fire. For massive fire, use unmanned hose holders or monitor nozzles; if this is impossible, withdraw from area and let fire burn. /Formaldehyde, solution, flammable; Formaldehyde, solutions (Formalin); Formaldehyde, solutions, (Formalin) (corrosive)/
/GUIDE 132: FLAMMABLE LIQUIDS - CORROSIVE/ Spill or Leak: Fully encapsulating, vapor protective clothing should be worn for spills and leaks with no fire. ELIMINATE all ignition sources (no smoking, flares, sparks or flames in immediate area). All equipment used when handling the product must be grounded. Do not touch or walk through spilled material. Stop leak if you can do it without risk. Prevent entry into waterways, sewers, basements or confined areas. A vapor suppressing foam may be used to reduce vapors. Absorb with earth, sand or other non-combustible material and transfer to containers ... Use clean non-sparking tools to collect absorbed material. Large spills: Dike far ahead of liquid spill for later disposal. Water spray may reduce vapor; but may not prevent ignition in closed spaces. /Formaldehyde, solution, flammable; Formaldehyde, solutions (Formalin); Formaldehyde, solutions, (Formalin) (corrosive)/
/GUIDE 132: FLAMMABLE LIQUIDS - CORROSIVE/ First Aid: Move victim to fresh air. Call 911 or emergency medical service. Give artificial respiration if victim is not breathing. Do not use mouth-to-mouth method if victim ingested or inhaled the substance; give artificial respiration with the aid of a pocket mask equipped with a one-way valve or other proper respiratory medical device. Administer oxygen if breathing is difficult. Remove and isolate contaminated clothing and shoes. In case of contact with substance, immediately flush skin or eyes with running water for at least 20 minutes. In case of burns, immediately cool affected skin for as long as possible with cold water. Do not remove clothing if adhering to skin. Keep victim warm and quiet. Effects of exposure (inhalation, ingestion or skin contact) to substance may be delayed. Ensure that medical personnel are aware of the material(s) involved and take precautions to protect themselves. /Formaldehyde, solution, flammable; Formaldehyde, solutions (Formalin); Formaldehyde, solutions, (Formalin) (corrosive)/
Exposure Standards and Regulations:
Formaldehyde is an indirect food additive for use only as a component of adhesives.
Formaldehyde is a food additive permitted in feed and drinking water of animals.
Reactivities and Incompatibilities:
(Amines) exothermic reaction, (AZO cmpd) exothermic reaction giving off nitrogen gas, (caustics) heat generation and violent polymerization, (dithiocarbamates) formation of flammable gasses and toxic fumes, formation of carbon disulfide may result, (alkali and alkaline earth metals) heat generation and formation of flammable hydrogen gas, (nitrides) heat generation, formation of flammable ammonia gas and violent polymerization, (nitro compd) heat generation, (unsaturated aliphatics and sulfides) heat generation, (organic peroxides) violent reaction, (oxidizing agents) heat generation, fire, and decomposition, (reducing agents) heat generation and formation of flammable gasses. /From table/
Interaction of nitromethane & formaldehyde in presence of alkali gives ... 2-nitroethanol ... /and/ di- & tri-condensation products. After removal of 2-nitroethanol by vacuum distillation, the residue must be cooled before admitting air into the system to prevent flash explosion or violent fume-off. /Nitromethane: formaldehyde/
Formaldehyde ... react violently with 90% performic acid ... /Peroxyformic acid: organic materials/
Formaldehyde and a number of carbonyl cmpd bearing electronegative substituents in the alpha position add to isocyanic acid at temp of -70 deg to 0 deg C to form alpha-hydroxy isocyanates. At higher temp, these isocyanates polymerize and sometimes do so with explosive violence.
Reactions with peroxide, nitrogen dioxide, and performic acid, cause explosions.
With magnesium carbonate, explosion is due to the pressure of carbon dioxide formed.
During neutralization of the formic acid present in formaldehyde soln by shaking with the basic carbonate in a screw-capped bottle, the latter burst owing to pressure of liberated carbon dioxide. periodical release of pressure should avoid this.
Strong oxidizers, alkalis & acids; phenols; urea [Note: Pure formaldehyde has a tendency to polymerize. Reacts with HCl to form bis-chloromethyl ether].
At least 9 cases of catalyzed plant-scale preparations of phenol-formaldehyde resin which ran away with sudden pressure development and failure of bursting disks or reactors are briefly mentioned ...
Highly chemically reactive. ... Sensitive to light. Powerful reducing agent.
Reacts with sodium hydroxide to yield formic acid and hydrogen. Reacts with /nitrogen oxides/ at about 180 deg; the reaction becomes explosive.
... Ozone is formed in a complex series of photochemical reactions ... involve nitrogen oxides and reactive organic compounds ... /eg/ formaldehyde ... These reactions are initiated by the photodissociation of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) into nitric oxide (NO) molecules and oxygen atoms (O). Atomic oxygen then reacts with molecular oxygen (O2) to form ozone.
Formaldehyde gas for disinfection purposes may be released from the aqueous soln ('formalin') by treatment with potassium permanganate (the heat for evaporation arising from the redox reaction), but the quantities must be limited to avoid the risk of fire or explosion. There is an account of an incident involving an extremely exothermic reaction overnight after addition of 0.1 L of formalin to 50 g of oxidant in a plastic beaker, which was melted. Electrically heated evaporation of formalin is a safer fumigation technique ... An attempt to disinfect a large building and its hundreds of incubators all at once by running formalin from a 180 L drum onto several kh of potassium permanganate in a small waste container led ... to a large fire which destroyed the building and its contents.
Other Preventative Measures:
Formaldehyde is preferably handled in a closed vessels, and if this is impossible the vapors should be removed at the level at which they are evolved. Ventilation must be provided; exposure to concentration above maximum allowed in factory (escape, splashing of liquid, etc) necessitates the workmen wearing complete protective equipment (closed-circuit breathing apparatus, goggles, gloves, etc). Leather and rubber are materials suitable for protection against vapors liquids containing formaldehyde, and clothes, and other articles contaminated by formaldehyde should be copiously washed with water.
Personnel in contact with solid material containing free formaldehyde or with concentrated solutions of formaldehyde, or exposed to formaldehyde vapors, should be protected by suitable exhaust or general ventilation and be supplied with hand and arm protection and respiratory protective equipment; barrier creams may also provide valuable skin protection.
SRP: The scientific literature for the use of contact lenses in industry is conflicting. The benefit or detrimental effects of wearing contact lenses depend not only upon the substance, but also on factors including the form of the substance, characteristics and duration of the exposure, the uses of other eye protection equipment, and the hygiene of the lenses. However, there may be individual substances whose irritating or corrosive properties are such that the wearing of contact lenses would be harmful to the eye. In those specific cases, contact lenses should not be worn. In any event, the usual eye protection equipment should be worn even when contact lenses are in place.
If material is not on fire and not involved in a fire: Keep sparks, flames, and other sources of ignition away. Keep material out of water sources and sewers. Build dikes to contain flow as necessary. Use water spray to disperse vapors and dilute standing pools of liquid.
Personnel protection: Avoid breathing vapors. Keep upwind. ... Do not handle broken packages unless wearing appropriate personal protective equipment. Wash away any material which may have contacted the body with copious amounts of water or soap and water.
PRECAUTIONS FOR "CARCINOGENS": Smoking, drinking, eating, storage of food or of food & beverage containers or utensils, & the application of cosmetics should be prohibited in any laboratory. All personnel should remove gloves, if worn, after completion of procedures in which carcinogens have been used. They should ... wash ... hands, preferably using dispensers of liq detergent, & rinse ... thoroughly. Consideration should be given to appropriate methods for cleaning the skin, depending on nature of the contaminant. No standard procedure can be recommended, but the use of organic solvents should be avoided. Safety pipettes should be used for all pipetting. /Chemical Carcinogens/
PRECAUTIONS FOR "CARCINOGENS": In animal laboratory, personnel should remove their outdoor clothes & wear protective suits (preferably disposable, one-piece & close-fitting at ankles & wrists), gloves, hair covering & overshoes. ... clothing should be changed daily but ... discarded immediately if obvious contamination occurs ... /also,/ workers should shower immediately. In chemical laboratory, gloves & gowns should always be worn ... however, gloves should not be assumed to provide full protection. Carefully fitted masks or respirators may be necessary when working with particulates or gases, & disposable plastic aprons might provide addnl protection. If gowns are of distinctive color, this is a reminder that they should not be worn outside of lab. /Chemical Carcinogens/
PRECAUTIONS FOR "CARCINOGENS": ... Operations connected with synth & purification ... should be carried out under well-ventilated hood. Analytical procedures ... should be carried out with care & vapors evolved during ... procedures should be removed. ... Expert advice should be obtained before existing fume cupboards are used ... & when new fume cupboards are installed. It is desirable that there be means for decreasing the rate of air extraction, so that carcinogenic powders can be handled without ... powder being blown around the hood. Glove boxes should be kept under negative air pressure. Air changes should be adequate, so that concn of vapors of volatile carcinogens will not occur. /Chemical Carcinogens/
PRECAUTIONS FOR "CARCINOGENS": Vertical laminar-flow biological safety cabinets may be used for containment of in vitro procedures ... provided that the exhaust air flow is sufficient to provide an inward air flow at the face opening of the cabinet, & contaminated air plenums that are under positive pressure are leak-tight. Horizontal laminar-flow hoods or safety cabinets, where filtered air is blown across the working area towards the operator, should never be used ... Each cabinet or fume cupboard to be used ... should be tested before work is begun (eg, with fume bomb) & label fixed to it, giving date of test & avg air-flow measured. This test should be repeated periodically & after any structural changes. /Chemical Carcinogens/
PRECAUTIONS FOR "CARCINOGENS": Principles that apply to chem or biochem lab also apply to microbiological & cell-culture labs ... Special consideration should be given to route of admin. ... Safest method of administering volatile carcinogen is by injection of a soln. Admin by topical application, gavage, or intratracheal instillation should be performed under hood. If chem will be exhaled, animals should be kept under hood during this period. Inhalation exposure requires special equipment. ... unless specifically required, routes of admin other than in the diet should be used. Mixing of carcinogen in diet should be carried out in sealed mixers under fume hood, from which the exhaust is fitted with an efficient particulate filter. Techniques for cleaning mixer & hood should be devised before expt begun. When mixing diets, special protective clothing &, possibly, respirators may be required. /Chemical Carcinogens/
PRECAUTIONS FOR "CARCINOGENS": When ... admin in diet or applied to skin, animals should be kept in cages with solid bottoms & sides & fitted with a filter top. When volatile carcinogens are given, filter tops should not be used. Cages which have been used to house animals that received carcinogens should be decontaminated. Cage-cleaning facilities should be installed in area in which carcinogens are being used, to avoid moving of ... contaminated /cages/. It is difficult to ensure that cages are decontaminated, & monitoring methods are necessary. Situations may exist in which the use of disposable cages should be recommended, depending on type & amt of carcinogen & efficiency with which it can be removed. /Chemical Carcinogens/
PRECAUTIONS FOR "CARCINOGENS": To eliminate risk that ... contamination in lab could build up during conduct of expt, periodic checks should be carried out on lab atmospheres, surfaces, such as walls, floors & benches, & ... interior of fume hoods & airducts. As well as regular monitoring, check must be carried out after cleaning-up of spillage. Sensitive methods are required when testing lab atmospheres. ... Methods ... should ... where possible, be simple & sensitive. /Chemical Carcinogens/
PRECAUTIONS FOR "CARCINOGENS": Rooms in which obvious contamination has occurred, such as spillage, should be decontaminated by lab personnel engaged in expt. Design of expt should ... avoid contamination of permanent equipment. ... Procedures should ensure that maintenance workers are not exposed to carcinogens. ... Particular care should be taken to avoid contamination of drains or ventilation ducts. In cleaning labs, procedures should be used which do not produce aerosols or dispersal of dust, ie, wet mop or vacuum cleaner equipped with high-efficiency particulate filter on exhaust, which are avail commercially, should be used. Sweeping, brushing & use of dry dusters or mops should be prohibited. Grossly contaminated cleaning materials should not be re-used ... If gowns or towels are contaminated, they should not be sent to laundry, but ... decontaminated or burnt, to avoid any hazard to laundry personnel. /Chemical Carcinogens/
PRECAUTIONS FOR "CARCINOGENS": Doors leading into areas where carcinogens are used ... should be marked distinctively with appropriate labels. Access ... limited to persons involved in expt. ... A prominently displayed notice should give the name of the Scientific Investigator or other person who can advise in an emergency & who can inform others (such as firemen) on the handling of carcinogenic substances. /Chemical Carcinogens/
The following engineering controls are recommended to minimize formaldehyde exposure: 1. Local exhaust ventilation should be installed over work stations using formalin or specimens preserved in formalin. 2. Small quantities of formaldehyde should be purchased in plastic containers for ease of handling & safety. 3. Traps should be placed in floor drains. 4. Spill-absorbent bags should be available for emergencies. 5. Engineering controls in hemodialysis units should include (a) isolating the main system from personnel & patients in case of inadvertent spills or (b) disconnecting the dialyzers before the sterilization process is completed. Also, formaldehyde vapors should be prevented from entering the room from the drains serving the main system & the dialysis consoles. The air should be regularly monitored for formaldehyde, & in-service education should be conducted periodically on the effects of formaldehyde.
Protective Equipment and Clothing:
Respirator selection: (50 ppm) Chemical cartridge respirator with organic vapor cartridge with full facepiece; Gas mask with organic vapor canister (chin-style or front- or back-mounted canister); supplied air respirator with full facepiece, helmet, or hood; self-contained breathing apparatus with full facepiece; (100 ppm): Type C supplied-air respirator operated in pressure-demand or other positive pressure or continuous-flow mode; (escape): Gas mask with organic vapor canister (chin-style or front- or back-mounted canister); self-contained breathing apparatus.
Wear appropriate eye protection to prevent eye contact.
Respirator Recommendations: At concentrations above the NIOSH REL, or where there is no REL, at any detectable concentration: (Assigned Protection Factor = 10,000) Any self-contained breathing apparatus that has a full facepiece and is operated in a pressure-demand or other positive-pressure mode; (Assigned Protection Factor = 10,000) Any supplied-air respirator that has a full facepiece and is operated in a pressure-demand or other positive-pressure mode in combination with an auxiliary self-contained positive-pressure breathing apparatus.
Respirator Recommendations: Escape: (Assigned Protection Factor = 50) Any air-purifying, full-facepiece respirator (gas mask) with a chin-style, front- or back-mounted canister providing protection against the compound of concern/Any appropriate escape-type, self-contained breathing apparatus.
PRECAUTIONS FOR "CARCINOGENS": ... Dispensers of liq detergent /should be available./ ... Safety pipettes should be used for all pipetting. ... In animal laboratory, personnel should ... wear protective suits (preferably disposable, one-piece & close-fitting at ankles & wrists), gloves, hair covering & overshoes. ... In chemical laboratory, gloves & gowns should always be worn ... however, gloves should not be assumed to provide full protection. Carefully fitted masks or respirators may be necessary when working with particulates or gases, & disposable plastic aprons might provide addnl protection. ... Gowns ... /should be/ of distinctive color, this is a reminder that they are not to be worn outside the laboratory. /Chemical Carcinogens/
?Formaldehyde (CAS NO.50-00-0) is the simplest aldehyde, ans it exists in water as the hydrate H2C(OH)2. Aqueous solutions of formaldehyde are referred to as formalin. Formaldehyde(50-00-0) is an intermediate in the oxidation (or combustion) of methane as well as other carbon compounds, e.g. forest fires, in automobile exhaust, and in tobacco smoke.
In the pure form, Formaldehyde in the pure form is a gas with a boiling point of -21°C but is unstable and readily trimerizes to trioxane or polymerizes to paraformaldehyde. Formaldehyde is stable only in water solution, commonly 37 to 56% formaldehyde by weight and often with methanol (3 to15%) present as a stabilizer.
Octanol/Water Partition Coefficient:
log Kow = 0.35
NTP 10th Report on Carcinogens. IARC Cancer Review: Group 2A IMEMDT ?? IARC Monographs on the Evaluation of Carcinogenic Risk of Chemicals to Man . 7 (1987),p. 211.(World Health Organization, Internation Agency for Research on Cancer,Lyon, France.:?) (Single copies can be ordered from WHO Publications Centre U.S.A., 49 Sheridan Avenue, Albany, NY 12210) ; Human Inadequate Evidence IMEMDT ?? IARC Monographs on the Evaluation of Carcinogenic Risk of Chemicals to Man . 29 (1982),p. 345.(World Health Organization, Internation Agency for Research on Cancer,Lyon, France.:?) (Single copies can be ordered from WHO Publications Centre U.S.A., 49 Sheridan Avenue, Albany, NY 12210) ; Animal Sufficient Evidence IMEMDT ?? IARC Monographs on the Evaluation of Carcinogenic Risk of Chemicals to Man . 29 (1982),p. 345.(World Health Organization, Internation Agency for Research on Cancer,Lyon, France.:?) (Single copies can be ordered from WHO Publications Centre U.S.A., 49 Sheridan Avenue, Albany, NY 12210) . EPA Genetic Toxicology Program. Reported in EPA TSCA Inventory. EPA Extremely Hazardous Substances List.
Disposal Methods:
Generators of waste (equal to or greater than 100 kg/mo) containing this contaminant, EPA hazardous waste number U122, must conform with USEPA regulations in storage, transportation, treatment and disposal of waste.
Formaldehyde is a waste chemical stream constituent which may be subjected to ultimate disposal by controlled incineration.
A good candidate for rotary kiln incineration at a temperature range of 820 to 1,600 deg C and residence times of seconds for liquids and gases, and hours for solids. A good candidate for fluidized bed incineration at a temperature range of 450 to 980 deg C and residence times of seconds for liquids and gases, and longer for solids.
Dissolve in a combustible solvent, then spray the soln into the furnace with afterburner. Recommendable methods: Incineration, oxidation, & discharge to sewer. Not recommendable methods: Evaporation & alkaline hydrolysis. Peer-review: Dilute formaldehyde waste with a large amt of water and treat the soln by hypochlorite soln. Concentration of formaldehyde in the soln should be below 2% in order to avoid excess exothermic reaction heat. Formaldehyde is a powerful reducing agent and many oxidants can be used, but may react violently (must be diluted). Alkaline hydrolysis may be dangerous because of exothermic reaction. (Peer-review conclusions of an IRPTC expert consultation (May 1985))
PRECAUTIONS FOR "CARCINOGENS": There is no universal method of disposal that has been proved satisfactory for all carcinogenic compounds & specific methods of chem destruction ... published have not been tested on all kinds of carcinogen-containing waste. ... Summary of avail methods & recommendations ... /given/ must be treated as guide only. /Chemical Carcinogens/
PRECAUTIONS FOR "CARCINOGENS": ... Incineration may be only feasible method for disposal of contaminated laboratory waste from biological expt. However, not all incinerators are suitable for this purpose. The most efficient type ... is probably the gas-fired type, in which a first-stage combustion with a less than stoichiometric air:fuel ratio is followed by a second stage with excess air. Some ... are designed to accept ... aqueous & organic-solvent solutions, otherwise it is necessary ... to absorb soln onto suitable combustible material, such as sawdust. Alternatively, chem destruction may be used, esp when small quantities ... are to be destroyed in laboratory. /Chemical Carcinogens/
PRECAUTIONS FOR "CARCINOGENS": HEPA (high-efficiency particulate arrestor) filters ... can be disposed of by incineration. For spent charcoal filters, the adsorbed material can be stripped off at high temp & carcinogenic wastes generated by this treatment conducted to & burned in an incinerator. ... LIQUID WASTE: ... Disposal should be carried out by incineration at temp that ... ensure complete combustion. SOLID WASTE: Carcasses of lab animals, cage litter & misc solid wastes ... should be disposed of by incineration at temp high enough to ensure destruction of chem carcinogens or their metabolites. /Chemical Carcinogens/
PRECAUTIONS FOR "CARCINOGENS": ... Small quantities of ... some carcinogens can be destroyed using chem reactions ... but no general rules can be given. ... As a general technique ... treatment with sodium dichromate in strong sulfuric acid can be used. The time necessary for destruction ... is seldom known ... but 1-2 days is generally considered sufficient when freshly prepd reagent is used. ... Carcinogens that are easily oxidizable can be destroyed with milder oxidative agents, such as saturated soln of potassium permanganate in acetone, which appears to be a suitable agent for destruction of hydrazines or of compounds containing isolated carbon-carbon double bonds. Concn or 50% aqueous sodium hypochlorite can also be used as an oxidizing agent. /Chemical Carcinogens/
PRECAUTIONS FOR "CARCINOGENS": Carcinogens that are alkylating, arylating or acylating agents per se can be destroyed by reaction with appropriate nucleophiles, such as water, hydroxyl ions, ammonia, thiols & thiosulfate. The reactivity of various alkylating agents varies greatly ... & is also influenced by sol of agent in the reaction medium. To facilitate the complete reaction, it is suggested that the agents be dissolved in ethanol or similar solvents. ... No method should be applied ... until it has been thoroughly tested for its effectiveness & safety on material to be inactivated. For example, in case of destruction of alkylating agents, it is possible to detect residual compounds by reaction with 4(4-nitrobenzyl)-pyridine. /Chemical Carcinogens/
The following wastewater treatment technologies have been investigated for formaldehyde: Biological treatment.
The following wastewater treatment technologies have been investigated for formaldehyde: Activated carbon.
Use and Manufacturing
Use and Manufacturing:
Methods of Manufacturing

Prepared commercially by catalytic vapor phase oxidation of methanol using air as the oxidizing agent and heated silver, copper, alumina, or coke as catalyst: Allyn et al., US patent 2812309 (1957) and US patent 2849492 (1958 to Reichhold Chemical). Preparation of stable formaldehyde by heating low molecular polyoxymethylenes with diphosphorus pentoxide: German patent 1070611 (1959 to BASF).
Historically, formaldehyde has been and continues to be mfr from methanol. During the decades following World War II ... as much as 20% of formaldehyde produced in the USA was made by the vapor phase, non-catalytic oxidation of propane and butanes. ... Today, all of the world's commercial formaldehyde is mfr from methanol and air by an older process using a metal catalyst and a newer one using a metal oxide catalyst. ... In early formaldehyde plants, methanol was oxidized over a copper catalyst, but in recent years this has been almost completely replaced with silver.
Oxidation of synthetic methanol or low-boiling petroleum gases such as propane and butane. Silver, copper, or iron-molybdenum oxide are the most common catalysts.
Methanol (catalytic dehydrogenation)
U.S. Exports

(1978) 1.04X10+10 G (INCL SOLNS)
(1983) 7.80X10+10 G (INCL SOLNS)
(1985) 4.01X10+8 g
CHEMICAL PROFILE: Formaldehyde. (1998) 19 million lbs
(2002) 25X10+6 lbs (est).
U.S. Imports

(1978) 1.11X10+9 G (INCL SOLNS)
(1983) 7.34X10+9 G (INCL SOLNS)
(1985) 3.87X10+9 g (incl solns)
CHEMICAL PROFILE: Formaldehyde. (1989) 11 million lbs
(2002) 140X10+6 lbs (est).
U.S. Production

This chemical is listed as a High Production Volume (HPV) (65FR81686). Chemicals listed as HPV were produced in or imported into the U.S. in >1 million pounds in 1990 and/or 1994. The HPV list is based on the 1990 Inventory Update Rule. (IUR) (40 CFR part 710 subpart B; 51FR21438).
(1960) 8.48X10+5 tons/year based on 37 wt % formaldehyde (2 wt % methanol)
(1965) 1.409X10+6 tons/year based on 37 wt % formaldehyde (2 wt % methanol)
(1970) 2.008X10+6 tons/year based on 37 wt % formaldehyde (2 wt % methanol)
(1975) 2.067X10+6 tons/year based on 37 wt % formaldehyde (2 wt % methanol)
(1977) 2.742X10+6 tons/year based on 37 wt % formaldehyde (2 wt % methanol)
(1978) 2.948X10+6 tons/year based on 37 wt % formaldehyde (2 wt % methanol)
(1977) 1.01X10+12 G (100% BY WEIGHT SOLN)
(1982) 8.09X10+11 G (100% BY WEIGHT SOLN)
(1983) 3.95X10+12 g (37% by weight soln)
(1988) 6.28X10+9 lb (37% formaldehyde by weight)
(1990) 6.72 billion lb
(1991) 6.61 billion lb
(1992) 8.28 billion lb
(1993) 7.61 billion lb
(1994) > 1 billion pounds
(1998) > 1 billion pounds
(2002) > 1 billion pounds
Consumption Patterns

Worldwide demand for formaldehyde in 1989 was estimated to be about 85-90% of capacity /about 14X10+6 t as 37 wt% formaldehyde soln/
Amino resins including urea & melamine, 7.50X10+5 tons. Amino resins molding 5.9X10+4 tons; phenolic resins 6.50X10+5 tons & phenolic molding resins 6.6X10+4 tons; fertilizers 1.80X10+5 tons; textile finishes 6.0X10+4 tons; acetal resins 1.80X10+5 tons; 1.4-butanediol 2.00X10+5 tons; pentaerythritol 1.80X10+5 tons; pyridines 4.0X10+4 tons; methylenediphenyl isocyanate 6.5X10+4 tons; trimethylolpropane 3.5X10+4 tons; & hexamine 1.50X10+5 tons (as 37% formaldehyde, 1978).
Worldwide demand for formaldehyde in 1976 was estimated to be about 7.5X10+6 tons or 60% capacity.
During 1985 ... resins going in to adhesives and plastics ... amount to more than 60% of demand ... most of the rest of formaldehyde demand is for use as a chemical intermediate.
Urea-formaldehyde resins, 27%; phenolic resins, 21%; 1,4-butanediol, 9%; polyacetal resins, 9%; pentaerythritol, 7%; hexamine, 7%; urea-formaldehyde concentrates, 6%; melamine, 4%; MDI, 4%; other, including exports, 6% (1984).
CHEMICAL PROFILE: Formaldehyde. Urea formaldehyde resins, 27%; phenolic resins, 21%; acetylenic chemicals, 11%; polyacetal resins, 8%; pentaerythritol, 7%; hexamine, 5.5%; ureal formaldehyde concentrates, 5.5%; melamine resins, 3.8%; MDI, 4.7%; miscellaneous, 5%.
CHEMICAL PROFILE: Formaldehyde. Demand: 1985: 5.8 billion lb; 1986: 6 billion lb; 1990 /projected/: 6.63 billion lb.
CHEMICAL PROFILE: Formaldehyde. Urea-formaldehyde resins, 25%; phenolic resins, 22%; polyacetal resins, 9%; pentaerythritol, 7%; hexamine, 6%; urea-formaldehyde concentrates, 6%; MDI, 5%; melamine resins, 4%; miscellaneous, 5%.
CHEMICAL PROFILE: Formaldehyde. Demand: 6.73 billion lb; 1989: 6.5 billion lb; 1993 /projected/: 7.6 billion lb. (Includes exports but not imports, both of which are negligible).
Uses: Urea-formaldehyde (UF) resins (23%), phenolic resins (19%), acetylenic chemicals (12%), polyacetal resins (11%), methylene diisocyanate (MDI) (6%), pentaerythritol (5%), urea-formaldehyde concentrates (4%), hexamethylenetetraamine (HMTA) (4%), melamine resins (4%), misc, including chelating agents, trimethylpropane, pyridine chemicals, nitroparaffin derivatives, textiles treating and trimethylolethane (12%).
U.S. Distribution of formaldehyde production according to uses: (1966) Phenol-formaldehyde resins, 23%; urea-formaldehyde resins, 30%; acetal resins, 2%; pentaerythritol, 12%; hexamethylenetetramine, 6%; urea-formaldehyde concentrates, 5%; ethylene glycol, 14%; others, 8%. /From table/
U.S. Distribution of formaldehyde production according to uses: (1972) Phenol-formaldehyde resins, 25%; urea-formaldehyde resins, 25%; acetal resins, 8%; 1,4-butanediol, 2%; melamine resins, 8%; pentaerythritol, 7%; hexamethylenetetramine, 6%; urea-formaldehyde concentrates, 5%; others, 14%. /From table/
U.S. Distribution of formaldehyde production according to uses: (1981) phenol-formaldehyde resins, 20%; urea-formaldehyde resins, 30%; acetal resins, 7%; 1,4-butanediol, 7%; melamine resins, 4%; pentaerythritol, 5%; hexamethylenetetramine, 4%; urea-formaldehyde concentrates, 4%; methylene diisocyanate, 3%; others, 16%. /From table/
U.S. Distribution of formaldehyde production according to uses: (1984) phenol-formaldehyde resins, 21%; urea-formaldehyde resins, 27%; acetal resins, 9%; 1,4-butanediol, 9%; melamine resins, 4%; pentaerythritol, 7%; hexamethylenetetramine, 7%; urea-formaldehyde concentrates, 6%; methylene diisocyanate, 4%; others, 6%. /From table/
U.S. Distribution of formaldehyde production according to uses: (1989) Phenol-formaldehyde resins, 22%; urea- formaldehyde resins, 25%; acetal resins, 9%; 1,4-butanediol, 11%; melamine resins, 4%; pentaerythritol, 7%; hexamethylenetetramine, 6%; urea-formaldehyde concentrates, 6%; methylene diisocyanate, 5%; others, 5%. /From table/
Sampling Procedures:
NIOSH Method 2539. Analyte: Formaldehyde. Matrix: Air. Sampler: Solid sorbent tube (10% 2-(hydroxy methyl)) pipendine on XAD-2, 20 mg/60 mg. Flow Rate: 0.01 to 0.05 l/min: Sample Size: 5-liters. Shipment: At 25 deg C or lower. Sample Stability: Stable greater or equal to 1 week @ 25 deg C.
NIOSH Method 3500. Analyte: Formaldehyde. Matrix: Air. Sampler: Filter plus impingers (1 um polytetrafluoroethylene membrane and 2 impingers, each with 20 ml 1% sodium bisulfite solution). Flow Rate: 0.2 to 1 liter/min: Sample Size: 80 liters. Shipment: Transfer samples to flow-density polyethylene bottles before shipping. Sample Stability: 30 days @ 25 deg C.
NIOSH Method 2541. Analyte: Formaldehyde. Matrix: Air. Sampler: Solid sorbent tube (10% (2-(hydroxymethyl)) piperidine on XAD-2, 120 mg/60 mg). Flow Rate: 0.01 to 0.10 l/min. Sample Size: 10 liters. Shipment: Routine. Sample Stability: 3 weeks @ 25 deg C.
OSW Method 0100. Sampling for Formaldehyde and Other Carbonyl Compounds in Indoor Air. This method provides procedures for the sampling of various carbonyl compounds in indoor air by derivatization with 2,4-dinitrophenylhydrazine (DNPH) in a silica gel cartridge.
OSW Method 8520. Continuous Measurement of Formaldehyde in Ambient Air. This method is applicable to the continuous measurement of formaldehyde in the 6 to 500 ug/m3 range in ambient air. It is used primarily for nonoccupational exposure monitoring.
Biomedical Effects and Toxicity
Pharmacological Action:
- Substances used on inanimate objects that destroy harmful microorganisms or inhibit their activity. Disinfectants are classed as complete, destroying SPORES as well as vegetative forms of microorganisms, or incomplete, destroying only vegetative forms of the organisms. They are distinguished from ANTISEPTICS, which are local anti-infective agents used on humans and other animals. (From Hawley's Condensed Chemical Dictionary, 11th ed)
- Agents employed in the preparation of histologic or pathologic specimens for the purpose of maintaining the existing form and structure of all of the constituent elements. Great numbers of different agents are used; some are also decalcifying and hardening agents. They must quickly kill and coagulate living tissue.
Therapeutic Uses:
Disinfectants; Fixatives
Desensitizing teeth /Soln, USP/ /Former use/
/Formaldehyde/ is used for humans as a treatment for athlete's foot, in cough drops, skin disinfectants, mouthwashes, spermatocide creams, as a disinfectant for vasectomies and root canals, and formerly to sterilize certain cysts before surgical removal.
MEDICATION (VET): For various skin diseases of large animals & demodectic mange in dog /soln, USP/
MEDICATION (VET): Antiseptics, fumigant, has been used in tympany, diarrhea, mastitis, pneumonia, internal bleeding.
MEDICATION (VET): ... In cattle ... foot-rot treatment baths ... Treatment of foot-rot in sheep ... .
MEDICATION (VET): Parasite-S and Formalin-F are approved for the control of: external protozoa (Chilodonella, Costia, Epistylis, Ichthyophthirius, Scyphidia, and Trichodina spp.) and the monogenetic trematodes (Cleidodiscus, Dactylogyrus, and Gyrodactylus spp.) on all finfish, fungi of the family Saprolegniaceae on all finfish eggs, and protozoan parasites (Bodo, Epistylis, and Zoothamnium spp.) on penaeid shrimp. Paracide-F is approved for the control of: external protozoa and monogenetic trematodes (as above) on salmon, trout, catfish, largemouth bass, and bluegill, and fungi (as above) on salmon, trout, and esocid eggs.
MEDICATION (VET): used in association with iodine ... as a coccidiostat in chickens.
Biomedical Effects and Toxicity:
Formaldehyde is absorbed readily from the respiratory and oral tracts and, to a much lesser degree, from the skin. It is the simplest aldehyde and reacts readily with macromolecules, such as proteins and nucleic acids. Inhalational exposure has been reported to result in almost complete absorption. Dermal absorption due to contact with formaldehyde-containing materials (e.g., textiles, permanent-press clothing, cosmetics, or other materials) is of low order of magnitude. ... Formaldehyde normally is converted and excreted as carbon dioxide in the air, as formic acid in the urine, or as one of many breakdown products from one-carbon pool metabolism. As a result of rapid absorption by both the oral and inhalational routes and its rapid metabolism, little or no formaldehyde is excreted unmetabolized. In rats exposed to (14)C-formaldehyde by inhalation, 40% of the radiolabel was excreted in the air and 20% in the urine and feces, whereas 40% remained in the carcass.
In rats and mice administered (14)C-formaldehyde intragastrically, 40% of dose... /was/ expired as carbon dioxide, 10% /was/ excreted in urine and 1% in feces after 12 hr; carcasses contained 20% after 24 hr and 10% after 4 days. When female rats were administered (14)C-formaldehyde ip at dose level of 70 mg/kg, 82% of dose was expired as (14)C dioxide and 13-14% was excreted via kidneys... .
Formaldehyde is absorbed rapidly and almost completely from the rodent intestinal tract. In rats, about 40% of an oral dose of (14)C-formaldehyde (7 mg/kg) was eliminated as (14)C-carbon dioxide within 12 hours, while 10% was excreted in the urine and 1% in the feces. A substantial portion of the radioactivity remained in the carcass as products of metabolic incorporation.
Formaldehyde vapors are readily absorbed from the respiratory tract. Due to rapid metabolism to formate, little, if any, intact formaldehyde can be found in the blood of humans or animals exposed to formaldehyde. Formaldehyde is also readily absorbed from the GI tract and meets with the same metabolic fate as formaldehyde after inhalation exposure. The studies available in the open literature suggest that very little formaldehyde is absorbed via the dermal route. In all cases, absorption appears to be limited to cell layers immediately adjacent to the point of contact. Entry of formaldehyde into the blood (i.e., systemic absorption) occurs to a very limited extent, if at all.
Less than 1% of a /dermally/ applied dose of /(14)C-formaldehyde/ was excreted or concn in the major organs of the monkey. Approx 10 times this amt was found in the rat and guinea pig excreta and internal organs. ... The skin of the monkey was much less permeable to formaldehyde than that of rodents. A significant proportion ... was found after 72 hr at the site of application, in the skin and fur, and ... for rodents ... in the remaining carcass.
Airborne (14)C-labeled formaldehyde was primarily absorbed in the upper respiratory tract of rats, leading to a very high radioactive concn in the nasal mucosa.
The effect of subchronic exposure to formaldehyde on blood formaldehyde concentrations was studied in monkeys. Young adult Rhesus monkeys were exposed to 0 or 6.00 ppm formaldehyde vapor 6 hours per day, 5 days per week for 4 weeks. Blood samples were obtained at 7 minutes and at 45 hours after the last exposure. The average blood formaldehyde concentrations obtained 7 minutes and 45 hours after exposure were 1.84 and 2.04 ug/g, respectively. The average blood formaldehyde concentraton in the controls was 2.42 ug/g. None of the concentrations were statistically different from each other. Subchronic exposure to a relatively high concentration of formaldehyde does not significantly increase the blood formaldehyde concentration of Rhesus monkeys. This result agrees with those of previous studies in rats and humans. Because formaldehyde is rapidly metabolized it does not accumulate in the blood or produce toxic effects at distant sites. The concentration of endogenous formaldehyde in the blood of Rhesus monkeys is similar to that of humans.
The normal endogenous concentration of formaldehyde in the blood is approximately 0.1 mM in rats, monkeys, and humans, and it is 2- to 4-fold higher in the liver and nasal mucosa of the rat. Inhaled formaldehyde enters the one-carbon pool, and the carbon atom is rapidly incorporated into macromolecules throughout the body. Oxidation to formate catalyzed by glutathione-dependent and -independent dehydrogenases in nasal tissues is a major route of detoxication and generally precedes incorporation. ... [Heck H, Casanova M; Regul Toxicol Pharmacol 40 (2): 92-106 (2004)] PubMed Abstract
The effect of deuterium substitution on the metabolism of formaldehyde and formate to carbon dioxide in vivo was examined. Four groups of male Sprague-Dawley rats were injected ip with (14)C labeled formaldehyde, formaldehyde-d2, sodium formate, or sodium formate-d at doses of 0.67 mmol/kg. Similar rates of labeled carbon dioxide exhalation were observed for the 4 groups of animals, the cumulative excretion of (14)C-carbon dioxide in breath reaching 68-71% of the theoretical value 12 hr after injection in all cases. Plots of amount remaining to be excreted showed that the metabolism was biexponential, with half-lives of approx 0.4 & 3 hr for the two phases for each of the 4 compounds. ...
The movement of blood formaldehyde in rabbits that were intoxicated with methanol has been investigated. When methanol alone was administered to rabbits orally, formaldehyde could not be detected in the blood. Further, in an experiment on the metabolism of methanol in vitro, formaldehyde was not detected in specimen samples but formate was. In contrast, when methanol was orally administered to rabbits that had been pretreated with diethyldithiocarbamate, an aldehyde dehydrogenase inhibitor, 17 to 33 uM of formaldehyde were detected in the blood 4 hr later. However, formaldehyde was not detected in the blood when methanol was orally administered to rabbits that had been pretreated with pyrazole, an alcohol dehydrogenase inhibitor. After rabbits were given an iv administration of formaldehyde, and on the addition of formaldehyde to a rabbit liver homogenate and blood, the formaldehyde in both instances was metabolized rapidly. Formaldehyde that was not metabolized within 10-15 min, however, bound to the tissue proteins. Formaldehyde was seen to be rapidly metabolized to formate without accumulating in the blood or binding to the tissue proteins. [Matsumoto K et al; Nippon Hoigaku Zasshi 44 (3): 205-11 (1990)] PubMed Abstract
Environmental Fate and Exposure Potential
Environmental Fate/Exposure Summary:
TERRESTRIAL FATE: Based on a classification scheme(1), an estimated Koc value of 37(SRC), determined from a log Kow of 0.35(2) and a regression-derived equation(3), indicates that formaldehyde is expected to have very high mobility in soil(SRC). Volatilization of formaldehyde from moist soil surfaces is not expected to be an important fate process(SRC) given a Henry's Law constant of 3.4X10-7 atm-cu m/mole(4). Volatilization of formaldehyde from dry soil surfaces will occur because it is a gas(5). Formaldehyde readily biodegrades under both aqueous aerobic and anaerobic conditions in the environments which suggests that these processes may be important in soil(SRC). Formaldehyde in aqueous effluent was degraded by activated sludge and sewage in 48-72 hr(6-10). In a die-away test using water from a stagnant lake, degradation was complete in 30 and 40 hrs under aerobic and anaerobic conditions, respectively(7).
AQUATIC FATE: Based on a classification scheme(1), an estimated Koc value of 37(SRC), determined from a log Kow of 0.35(2) and a regression-derived equation(3), indicates that formaldehyde is not expected to adsorb to suspended solids and sediment(SRC). Volatilization from water surfaces is not expected(3) based upon a Henry's Law constant of 3.4X10-7 atm-cu m/mole(4). According to a classification scheme(5), an estimated BCF of 3(SRC), from its log Kow(2) and a regression-derived equation(6), suggests the potential for bioconcentration in aquatic organisms is low(SRC). Formaldehyde readily biodegrades under both aerobic and anaerobic conditions in the environment(SRC). Formaldehyde in aqueous effluent was degraded by activated sludge and sewage in 48-72 hr(7-11). In a die-away test using water from a stagnant lake, degradation was complete in 30 and 40 hrs under aerobic and anaerobic conditions, respectively(8).
ATMOSPHERIC FATE: According to a model of gas/particle partitioning of semivolatile organic compounds in the atmosphere(1), formaldehyde, which has an estimated vapor pressure of 3,890 mm Hg at 25 deg C(2), will exist in the gas phase in the ambient atmosphere(SRC). Gas-phase formaldehyde is degraded in the atmosphere by reaction with photochemically-produced hydroxyl radicals(SRC); the half-life for this reaction in air is 41 hrs(SRC), calculated from its rate constant of 9.4X10-12 cu cm/molecule-sec at 25 deg C(3). The hydroxy radical initiated oxidation of formaldehyde also occurs in cloud droplets to form formic acid, a component of acid rain(4). Formaldehyde absorbs ultraviolet radiation at wavelengths of >360 nm(5); therefore, formaldehyde may directly photolyze in sunlight(SRC). Formaldehyde has a half-life of 6 hrs in simulated sunlight(5). The predicted half-life of formaldehyde due to photolysis in the lower atmosphere is 1.6 hrs at a solar zenith of 40 degrees(6). Formaldehyde reacts with the NO3 radical by H-atom abstraction with a half-life of 12 days (assuming an average NO3 radical concentration of 2X10+9/cu cm)(7).
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