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Basic information General Description Safety Related Supplier
Formaldehyde Basic information
Formaldehyde Chemical Properties
  • Melting point:-15°C
  • Boiling point:97°C(37% solution),-19.5°C(pure)
  • Density 1.09 g/mL at 25 °C(lit.)
  • vapor density 1.03 (vs air)
  • vapor pressure 52 mm Hg ( 37 °C)
  • refractive index n20/D 1.377
  • Flash point:133 °F
  • storage temp. 2-8°C
  • solubility water: soluble
  • form Solution
  • pka13.27(at 25℃)
  • color APHA: ≤10
  • PHpH (25℃) : 7.0~7.5
  • OdorPungent odor detectable at 1 ppm
  • Water Solubility soluble
  • λmaxλ: 260 nm Amax: 0.01
    λ: 280 nm Amax: 0.01
  • Merck 14,4235
  • BRN 1209228
  • Henry's Law Constant2.08(x 10-7 atm?m3/mol) at 25 °C (flow-type generation system, spectrophometry, Kanda et al., 2005)
  • Exposure limitsNIOSH REL: TWA 0.016 ppm, 15-min C 0.1 ppm, IDLH 20 ppm; OSHA PEL: TWA 0.75 ppm, STEL 2 ppm.
  • CAS DataBase Reference50-00-0(CAS DataBase Reference)
  • NIST Chemistry ReferenceFormaldehyde(50-00-0)
  • EPA Substance Registry SystemFormaldehyde(50-00-0)
Safety Information
  • Hazard Codes T
  • Risk Statements 23/24/25-34-40-43-39/23/24/25-68-45-68/20/21/22
  • Safety Statements 36/37-51-45-36/37/39-26-53
  • RIDADR UN 1198 3/PG 3
  • WGK Germany 2
  • RTECS LP8925000
  • 10
  • Autoignition Temperature424 °C for formalin containing 15% methanol
  • TSCA Yes
  • HazardClass 3
  • PackingGroup III
  • HS Code 29121100
  • Hazardous Substances Data50-00-0(Hazardous Substances Data)
  • ToxicityLD50 oral (rat) 500 mg/kg
    LD50 skin (rabbit) 270 mg/kg
    LC50 inhal (rat) 203 mg/m3 (2 h)
    PEL (OSHA) 1 ppm (1.5 mg/m3)
    TLV-TWA (ACGIH) 0.3 ppm (ceiling)(0.37 mg/m3)
    STEL (OSHA) 2 ppm (2.5 mg/m3)
Formaldehyde Usage And Synthesis
  • General DescriptionFormaldehyde, also called formic aldehyde or methyl aldehyde, has extensive application. For instance, it is used as a tissue preservative or organic chemical reagent. Thus, formaldehyde is very common to the chemical industry. In fact, formaldehyde is an important chemical used widely by industry to manufacture building materials and numerous household products. It is also a by-product of combustion and certain other natural processes. It is present in substantial concentrations both indoors and outdoors. Formaldehyde is well known as a preservative in medical laboratories, as an embalming fluid, and as a steriliser. Its primary use is in the production of resins and as a chemical intermediate. Urea–formaldehyde (uf) and phenol–formaldehyde (pf) resins are used in foam insulations, as adhesives in the production of particle board and plywood, and in the treating of textiles. Sources of formaldehyde in the home include building materials, smoking, household products, and the use of unvented, fuel-burning appliances, like gas stoves or kerosene space heaters. Formaldehyde, by itself or in combination with other chemicals, serves a number of purposes in manufactured products.
    Formaldehyde itself is a colourless gas, but it is more commonly purchased and used in aqueous solution (called formalin solution), with a maximum concentration of 40%. Formalin solutions often contain some amount of methanol as well. Both formaldehyde gas and solutions have a characteristic pungent, unpleasant odour.
  • DescriptionFormaldehyde is a colorless, flammable gas with a distinctive pungent odor. It is the simplest aldehyde, which is a class of organic compounds with the carbonyl group bonded to at least one hydrogen atom. Formaldehyde was described by August Wilhelm von Hoff mann (1818–1892) in 1867 after the Russian Aleksandr Butlerov (1828–1886) had inadvertently synthesized it in 1857. Formaldehyde readily dissolves in water to produce a solution called formalin, which is commonly marketed as a 37% solution.
  • Chemical PropertiesFormaldehyde,HeHO, also known as methanol,formol,and methylene oxide,is a colorless gas at room temperature, In solution with water,it is a colorless poisonous liquid with a pungent odor. Formaldehyde is used in the manufacture of plastics and resins by reaction with phenols,urea, and melamine. It is used as a preservative,a disinfectant, and as a chemical intermediate,
  • Chemical PropertiesFormaldehyde is an important chemical widely used by industry to manufacture building materials and numerous household products. It is also a by-product of combustion and certain other natural processes. It is present in substantial concentrations both indoors and outdoors. Formaldehyde is well known as a preservative in medical laboratories, as an embalming fl uid, and as a sterilizer. Its primary use is in the production of resins and as a chemical intermediate. Urea formaldehyde (uf) and phenol formaldehyde (pf) resins are used in foam insulations, as adhesives in the production of particle board and plywood, and in the treating of textiles. Sources of formaldehyde in the home include building materials, smoking, household products, and the use of unvented, fuel-burning appliances, like gas stoves or kerosene space heaters. Formaldehyde, by itself or in combination with other chemicals, serves a number of purposes in manufactured products. It has been reported that the use and production of formaldehyde in 1998 was about 11.3 billion pounds and the international production crossed over 46 billion pounds in 2004.
  • Chemical PropertiesFormaldehyde is a colorless, pungent gas or aqueous solution. The Odor Threshold is 0.8 ppm. Also,formalin is an aqueous solution that is 37% formaldehyde by weight; inhibited solutions (added to prevent polymeri zation) usually contain 6 12% methyl alcohol.
  • Physical propertiesClear, colorless liquid with a pungent, suffocating odor. Burning taste. Experimentally determined odor threshold concentrations of 1.0 ppmv and 0.50 ppmv were reported by Leonardos et al. (1969) and Nagata and Takeuchi (1990), respectively.
  • HistoryFormaldehyde is a by-product of combustion of organic compounds, metabolism, and other natural processes. Formaldehyde results from wood combustion and elevated atmospheric concentrations can result from forest fires, as well as from urban pollution sources such as transportation. Formaldehyde has been identified as a significant indoor air pollutant. Building materials such as particleboard, plywood, and paneling are major sources of formaldehyde because they incorporate formaldehyde resins as bonding adhesives. Other sources of formaldehyde in the home are carpets, upholstery, drapes, tobacco smoke, and indoor combustion products. Formaldehyde may be emitted from building materials for several years after installation. In the two decades of the 1960s and 1970s, a half million homes in the United States used urea formaldehyde foam insulation, but health complaints led to its elimination as an insulator in the early 1980s. People react differently to formaldehyde exposure, but it is estimated that between 10% and 20% of the population will experience some reaction at concentrations as low as 0.2 parts per million. Formaldehyde irritates the eyes, nose, and throats, producing coughing, sneezing, runny nose, and burning eyes. More severe reactions result in insomnia, headaches, rashes, and breathing difficulties. Some states have established indoor air quality standards ranging from 0.05 to 0.5 ppm.
  • UsesFormaldehyde is used in the manufactureof phenolic resins, cellulose esters, artificialsilk, dyes, explosives, and organic chemicals.Other uses are as a germicide, fungicide, anddisinfectant; in tanning, adhesives, waterproofingfabrics, and for tonic and chromeprinting in photography; and for treating skindiseases in animals. In vitro neutralizationof scorpion venom toxicity by formaldehydehas been reported (Venkateswarlu et al.1988).
    Formaldehyde constitutes about 50% ofall aldehydes present in the air. It is oneof the toxic effluent gases emitted fromburning wood and synthetic polymeric substancessuch as polyethylene, nylon 6, andpolyurethane foams. Firefighters have a greaterrisk to its exposure. Incapacitation fromthe toxic effluent gases is reported to occurmore rapidly from the combustion of syntheticpolymers than from that of naturalcellulose materials.
    Formaldehyde is directly emitted into theair from vehicles. It is released in traceamounts from pressed wood products suchas particleboard and plywood paneling, fromold “sick” buildings, and from cotton andcotton–polyester fabrics with selected crosslinkfinishes. Formation of formaldehyde hasbeen observed in some frozen gadoid fishdue to enzymic decomposition of the additivetrimethylamine oxide (Rehbein 1985).Its concentration can build up during frozenstorage of fish (Leblanc and Leblanc 1988;Reece 1985). It occurs in the upper atmosphere,cloud, and fog; it also forms inphotochemical smog processes.
  • UsesFungicide; bactericide
  • UsesUrea and melamine resins, polyacetal resins, phenolic resins, ethylene glycol, pentaerythritol, hexamethylenetetramine, fertilizer, disinfectant, biocide, embalming fluids, preservative, reducing agent as in recovery of gold and silver, corrosion inhibito
  • UsesMore than half of the commercial formaldehyde produced is used to manufacture phenolic,urea, and melamine formaldehyde resins. Polyacetyl resins use another 5–10% of formaldehyde,and approximately 80% of formaldehyde goes into the resins and plastics industry.Phenolic-formaldehyde resins were the first synthetic plastics to be produced. The first plasticwas called Bakelite.
    Formaldehyde has traditionally been used as a preservative in biology and medical laboratoriesand in embalming fluid. Embalming fluids typically contain 5–15% formaldehyde, a significant percentage of alcohol, and other additives to perform certain functions, for example,bleaches and coloring to preserve skin color. Formaldehyde has been used to preserve deadbodies since 1900 and has several qualities that make it the preferred preservative. Foremostamong these is its low cost, but it also has several biochemical advantages: it kills germs andmicroorganisms, destroys decomposition enzymes, retards decomposition of proteins, andhardens body tissues.
  • DefinitionChEBI: The simplest aldehyde.
  • DefinitionFormalin: a colourless solution of methanal (formaldehyde) in waterwith methanol as a stabilizer; r.d.1.075–1.085. When kept at temperaturesbelow 25°C a white polymer ofmethanal separates out. It is used asa disinfectant and preservative forbiological specimens.
  • Production MethodsThe industrial preparation of formaldehyde has occurred since the late 1800s and involvesthe catalytic oxidation of methanol: 2CH3OH(g) + O2(g) → 2CH2O(g).the oxidationtakes place at temperatures between 400°C and 700°C in the presence of metal catalysts. Metalsinclude silver, copper, molybdenum, platinum, and alloys of these metals. Formaldehyde iscommonly used as an aqueous solution called formalin. Commercial formalin solutions varybetween 37% and 50% formaldehyde. When formalin is prepared, it must be heated anda methanol must be added to prevent polymerization; the final formalin solution containsbetween 5% and 15% alcohol.
  • Air & Water ReactionsThe solution gives up formaldehyde vapors readily. These vapors are flammable over a wide vapor-air concentration range. Water soluble.
  • Reactivity ProfileFORMALDEHYDE, SOLUTION, reacts violently with strong oxidizing agents (hydrogen peroxide, performic acid, perchloric acid in the presence of aniline, potassium permanganate, nitromethane). Reacts with bases (sodium hydroxide, potassium hydroxide, ammonia), and with nitrogen dioxide (explosive reaction around 180°C). Reacts with hydrochloric acid to form highly toxic bis(chloromethyl) ether. Polymerization reaction with phenol may develop sudden destructive pressure [Bretherick, 5th ed., 1995, p.168].
  • HazardModerate fire risk. Explosive limits in air 7– 73%. Toxic by inhalation, strong irritant, a carcinogen. (Solution) Avoid breathing vapor and avoid skin contact. Confirmed carcinogen.
  • Health HazardFormaldehyde is a colorless, pungent-smelling gas. Exposures to low levels of formaldehyde cause irritation of the eyes, nose, throat, skin, nausea, and diffi culty in breathing. Short-term exposure to formaldehyde can be fatal. Long-term exposure to low levels of formaldehyde may cause respiratory diffi culty, eczema, and sensitization. Occupational workers with asthma have been found to be more sensitive to the effects of inhaled formaldehyde; in high concentrations, formaldehyde triggers attacks in people with asthma. Also, intake/drinking large amounts of formaldehyde causes severe pain, vomiting, and coma leading to death. Acute and chronic health effects of formaldehyde vary depending on the individual. The typical threshold for development of acute symptoms due to inhaled formaldehyde is 800 ppb; however, sensitive individuals have reported symptoms at formaldehyde levels around 100 ppb.
  • Health HazardFormaldehyde is moderately toxic by skin contact and inhalation. Exposure to formaldehyde gas can cause irritation of the eyes and respiratory tract, coughing, dry throat, tightening of the chest, headache, a sensation of pressure in the head, and palpitations of the heart. Exposure to 0.1 to 5 ppm causes irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat; above 10 ppm severe lacrimation occurs, burning in the nose and throat is experienced, and breathing becomes difficult. Acute exposure to concentrations above 25 ppm can cause serious injury, including fatal pulmonary edema. Formaldehyde has low acute toxicity via the oral route. Ingestion can cause irritation of the mouth, throat, and stomach, nausea, vomiting, convulsions, and coma. An oral dose of 30 to 100 mL of 37% formalin can be fatal in humans. Formalin solutions can cause severe eye burns and loss of vision. Eye contact may lead to delayed effects that are not appreciably eased by eye washing.Formaldehyde is regulated by OSHA as a carcinogen (Standard 1910.1048) and is listed in IARC Group 2A ("probable human carcinogen"). This substance is classified as a "select carcinogen" under the criteria of the OSHA Laboratory Standard. Prolonged or repeated exposure to formaldehyde can cause dermatitis and sensitization of the skin and respiratory tract. Following skin contact, a symptom free period may occur in sensitized individuals. Subsequent exposures can then lead to itching, redness, and the formation of blisters
  • Health HazardThe probable oral lethal dose for humans is 0.5-5 g/kg, or between 1 ounce and 1 pint for a 150 pound person. Acute -- below 1 ppm, odor perceptible to most. 2-3 ppm, mild tingling of eyes. 4-5 ppm, increased discomfort, mild lacrimation. 10 ppm, profuse lacrimation; can be withstood only for few minutes. 10-20 ppm, breathing difficult, cough, severe burning of nose and throat. 50-100 ppm, acute irritation of respiratory tract, very serious injury likely. Skin -- primary irritation from strong solutions, gas. Delayed -- sensitization dermatitis. Suspected carcinogen. Effects in women include menstrual disorders and secondary sterility. Solutions splashed in eyes have caused injuries ranging from severe, permanent corneal opacification and loss of vision to minor discomfort. In people sensitized to formaldehyde, late asthmatic reactions may be provoked by brief exposures at approximately 3 ppm.
  • Health HazardFormaldehyde can present a moderate tosevere health hazard injuring eyes, skin, andrespiratory system. It is a mutagen, teratogen,and probably carcinogenic to humans.It is a severe eye irritant. An amount of0.1 mg/day caused severe eye irritation inrabbits. In humans a 1-ppm concentration cancause burning in the eyes. Its lachrymating effect on humans can become intolerable at10 ppm in air. Exposure to 50 mg/day causedmoderate skin irritation in rabbits. Contactwith formaldehyde solution or its resins cancause sensitization to dermatitis. Exposure byhumans at 1–2 ppm of formaldehyde in aircan exhibit the symptoms of itching eyes,burning nose, dry and sore throat, sneezing,coughing, headache, feeling thirsty, and disturbedsleep.
    Inhalation of a high concentration offormaldehyde can lead to death. Animalstudies indicated that exposure to 700 ppmfor 2 hours was fatal to mice; cats diedof an 8-hours exposure. Chronic exposureto a 40-ppm concentration was lethal tomice, with symptoms of dyspnea, listlessness,loss of body weight, inflammation inthe nasal tissues, and pathological changesin the nose, larynx, trachea, and bronchi.In addition to this, pathological changes inovaries and uterus were observed in femalemice. Neurotoxicity studies indicate thatacute low-level exposure (5–20 ppm) for3 h/day for 2 days can result in decreasedmotor activity in rats associated with neurochemicalchanges in dopamine and 5-hydroxytryptamine neurons.Similar to acrolein, formaldehyde can inducenasal toxicity; short-term exposure to6–15 ppm can cause respiratory epithelialinjury—the severity related to concentration(Monteiro-Riviere and Popp 1986). Theinjury as detected from SEM and TEMstudies was not specific to cell but to thearea of exposure (Popp et al. 1986). Ina subchronic (13-week) inhalation toxicitystudy of formaldehyde in rats, Woutersenet al. (1987) reported that the compoundwas hepatotoxic to rats only at >10 ppmconcentration. At 20 ppm concentration, thetreatment-related changes observed werestained coats, yellowing of the fur, growthretardation, and degeneration of nasal respiratoryepithelium.
    Subacute oral toxicity of formaldehydeand acetaldehyde in rats has been reported byTil et al. (1988). In a drinking water study,a dose level of 125 mg/kg formaldehydeper day was fed to rats for 4 weeks. Thesymptoms noted were yellow discolorationof the fur, decreased protein and albuminlevels in their blood plasma, hyperkeratosisin the forestomach, and gastritis. However,no adverse effect was noted at a dose of25 mg/kg/day. By comparison, only a lowtoxicity was observed with acetaldehyde at adose of 675 mg/kg/day.
    Upreti et al. (1987) studied the mechanismof toxicity of formaldehyde in male ratsby intraperitoneal injection of 14C-labeledHCHO. In 72 hours 41% of the dose waseliminated through expired air and another15% in urine. A significant level of radioactivitywas detected bound to subcellularmicrosomal fractions, deoxyribonucleic acid(DNA), ribonucleic acid (RNA), protein,lipid fractions of liver, and spleen tissues.The study indicates that formaldehyde undergoesrapid absorption and distribution in thebody.
    Formaldehyde-induced mutation has beenstudied in both human lymphoblasts andEscherichia coli (Crosby et al. 1988). Inhuman lymphoblasts, it induced large lossesof DNA. In E. coli, varying concentrationsof formaldehyde produced different geneticalterations.
    Animal studies indicate that it can causecancer. There is sufficient evidence of its carcinogenicityin test species resulting fromits inhalation. It caused olfactory tumor.Subcutaneous dosages produced skin tumorsat the sites of applications. Similar tumorigenicproperties of formaldehyde are expectedin humans. The evidence of its carcinogenicbehavior in humans, however, is limited.
  • Fire HazardToxic vapors such as carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide are generated during combustion. Explosion hazard: when aqueous formaldehyde solutions are heated above their flash points, a potential for explosion hazard exists. High formaldehyde concentration or methanol content lowers flash point. Reacts with nitrogen oxides at about 180; the reaction becomes explosive. Also reacts violently with perchloric acid-aniline, performic acid, nitromethane, magnesium carbonate, and hydrogen peroxide. When heated, irritant formaldehyde gas evolved from solution. The main products of decomposition are carbon monoxide and hydrogen. Metals such as platinum, copper, chromia, and alumina also catalyze the formation of methanol, methylformate, formic acid, carbon dioxide, and methane. Reacts with peroxide, nitrogen oxide, and performic acid causing explosions. Can react with hydrogen chloride or other inorganic chlorides to form bis-chloromethylether (BCME), a known carcinogen. Very reactive, combines readily with many substances, 40% solution is powerful reducing agent. Incompatible with amines, azo compounds, dithiocarbamates, alkali and alkaline earth metals, nitrides, nitro compounds, unsaturated aliphatics and sulfides, organic peroxides, oxidizing agents, and reducing agents. Aqueous solutions are unstable. Commercial formaldehyde-alcohol solutions are stable. Gas is stable in absence of water. Avoid oxidizing and alkaline materials. Hazardous polymerization may occur. Compound will polymerize with active organic materials such as phenol. Will polymerize violently in the presence of caustics and nitrides; (amines) exothermic reaction, (Azo compound) exothermic reaction giving off nitrogen gas, (caustics) heat generation and violent polymerization, (dithiocarbamates) formation of flammable gases and toxic fumes, formation of carbon disulfide may result, (alkali and alkaline earth metals) heat generation and formation of a flammable hydrogen gas.
  • Fire HazardFormaldehyde gas is extremely flammable; formalin solution is a combustible liquid (NFPA rating = 2 for 37% formaldehyde (15% methanol), NFPA rating = 4 for 37% formaldehyde (methanol free)). Toxic vapors may be given off in a fire. Carbon dioxide or dry chemical extinguishers should be used to fight formaldehyde fires.
  • Flammability and ExplosibilityFormaldehyde gas is extremely flammable; formalin solution is a combustible liquid (NFPA rating = 2 for 37% formaldehyde (15% methanol), NFPA rating = 4 for 37% formaldehyde (methanol free)). Toxic vapors may be given off in a fire. Carbon dioxide or dry chemical extinguishers should be used to fight formaldehyde fires.
  • Chemical ReactivityReactivity with Water No reaction; Reactivity with Common Materials: No reactions; Stability During Transport: Stable; Neutralizing Agents for Acids and Caustics: Not pertinent; Polymerization: Not pertinent; Inhibitor of Polymerization: Not pertinent.
  • Agricultural UsesMicrobiocide, Fungicide, Bactericide; Soil sterilent: Registered for use in the U.S. Not approved for use in EU countries. Formaldehyde has found wide industrial usage as a fungicide, germicide and in disinfectants. It is used most often in an aqueous solution stabilized with methanol (formalin). It is also a pesticide intermediate.
  • Contact allergensSources and uses of formaldehyde are numerous. Exposed people are mainly health workers, cleaners, painters, met alworkers, but also photographers (color developers) and carbonless copy paper users. Formaldehyde can induce contact urticaria. Formaldehyde may be the cause of sen sitization to formaldehyde releasers: benzylhemiformal, bromonitrodioxane, bromonitropropanediol (?), chloroal lylhexaminium chloride or Quaternium-15, diazolidinylu rea, dimethylol urea, dimethyloldimethylhydantoin or DMDM hydantoin, hexamethylenetetramine or methe namine, imidazolidinylurea, monomethyloldimethylhy dantoin or MDM hydantoin, N-methylolchloracetamide, paraformaldehyde and trihydroxyethylhexahydrotriazine or Grotan BK. Formaldehyde is used for the synthesis of many resins. Some of them, such as formaldehyde-urea and melamine formaldehyde resins, can be used in textiles and second arily release free formaldehyde (see Chap. 40). Other resins, such as p-tert-butylphenol formalde hyde resin or tosylamine formaldehyde resin, do not release formaldehyde.
  • Safety ProfileConfirmed 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: lachqmation, 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 darrhea 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 sodum hydroxide to yield formic acid and hydrogen. Reacts with NOx at about 180'; the reaction becomes explosive. Also reacts violently with perchloric acid + anhe, 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.
  • Potential ExposureFormaldehyde has found wide indus trial usage as a fungicide, germicide; and in disinfectants and embalming fluids. It is also used in the manufacture of artificial silk and textiles, latex, phenol, urea, thiourea and melamine resins; dyes, and inks; cellulose esters and other organic molecules; mirrors, and explosives. It is also used in the paper, photographic, and furniture industries. It is an intermediate in drug manufacture and is a pesticide intermediate.
  • CarcinogenicityFormaldehyde is known to be a human carcinogen based on sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity from studies in humans and supporting data on mechanisms of carcinogenesis. Formaldehyde was first listed in the Second Annual Report on Carcinogens in 1981 as reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen based on sufficient evidence from studies in experimental animals. Since that time, additional cancer studies in humans have been published, and the listing status was changed to known to be a human carcinogen in the Twelfth Report on Carcinogens (2011).
  • SourceFormaldehyde naturally occurs in jimsonweed, pears, black currant, horsemint, sago cycas seeds (1,640 to 2,200 ppm), oats, beets, and wild bergamot (Duke, 1992).
    Formaldehyde was formed when acetaldehyde in the presence of oxygen was subjected to continuous irradiation (λ >2200 ?) at room temperature (Johnston and Heicklen, 1964).
    Schauer et al. (2001) measured organic compound emission rates for volatile organic compounds, gas-phase semi-volatile organic compounds, and particle phase organic compounds from the residential (fireplace) combustion of pine, oak, and eucalyptus. The gas-phase emission rates of formaldehyde were 1,165 mg/kg of pine burned, 759 mg/kg of oak burned, and 599 mg/kg of eucalyptus burned.
    Gas-phase tailpipe emission rates from California Phase II reformulated gasoline-powered automobiles with and without catalytic converters were 8.69 and 884 mg/km, respectively (Schauer et al., 2002).
  • Environmental FateBiological. Biodegradation products reported include formic acid and ethanol, each of which can further degrade to carbon dioxide (Verschueren, 1983).
    Photolytic. Major products reported from the photooxidation of formaldehyde with nitrogen oxides are carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide and hydrogen peroxide (Altshuller, 1983). In synthetic air, photolysis of formaldehyde gave hydrochloric acid and
    Irradiation of gaseous formaldehyde containing an excess of nitrogen dioxide over chlorine yielded ozone, carbon monoxide, nitrogen pentoxide, nitryl chloride, nitric acid and hydrochloric acid. Peroxynitric acid was the major photolysis product when chlo
    Chemical/Physical. Oxidizes in air to formic acid (Hartley and Kidd, 1987). Trioxymethylene may precipitate under cold temperatures (Sax, 1984). Polymerizes easily (Windholz et al., 1983). Anticipated products from the reaction of formaldehyde with ozone orhydroxyl radicals in air are carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide (Cupitt, 1980). Major products reported from the photooxidation of formaldehyde with nitrogen oxides are carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide and hydrogen peroxide (Altshuller, 1983).
    Reacts with hydrochloric acid in moist air forming bis(chloromethyl)ether. This compound may also form from an acidic solution containing chloride ion and formaldehyde (Frankel et al., 1974). In an aqueous solution at 25°C, nearly all the formaldehyde add
  • storagework with formaldehyde should be conducted in a fume hood to prevent exposure by inhalation, and splash goggles and impermeable gloves should be worn at all times to prevent eye and skin contact. Formaldehyde should be used only in areas free of ignition sources. Containers of formaldehyde should be stored in secondary containers in areas separate from oxidizers and bases.
  • ShippingUN1198 Formaldehyde solutions, flammable, Hazard Class: 3; Labels: 3-Flammable liquid, 8-Corrosive material. Cylinders must be transported in a secure upright position, in a well-ventilated truck. Protect cylinder and labels from physical damage. The owner of the compressed gas cylinder is the only entity allowed by federal law (49CFR) to transport and refill them. It is a violation of transportation regulations to refill compressed gas cylinders without the express written permission of the owner. UN2209 Formaldehyde solutions, with not<25% formal dehyde, Hazard class: 8; Labels: 8-Corrosive material. UN3077 For solids containing varying amounts of formal dehyde : UN3077 Environmentally hazardous substances, solid, n.o.s., Hazard class: 9; Labels: 9-Miscellaneous hazardous material, Technical Name Required.
  • Purification MethodsIt commonly contains added MeOH. Add KOH solution (1 mole KOH: 100 moles HCHO) to ~37% by weight aqueous formaldehyde solution (formalin), or evaporate to dryness, to give paraformaldehyde polymer which, after washing with water, is dried in a vacuum desiccator over P2O5 or H2SO4. Formaldehyde is regenerated by heating the paraformaldehyde to 120o under vacuum, or by decomposing it with barium peroxide. The monomer, a colourless flammable gas, is passed through a glass-wool filter cooled to -48o in a CaCl2/ice mixture to remove particles of polymer, then dried by passage over P2O5 and either condensed in a bulb immersed in liquid nitrogen or absorbed in ice-cold conductivity water. The gas or aqueous solutions have pungent suffocating odours, are LACHRYMATORY and suspected carcinogens, handle carefully. Formalin is a disinfectant and a preservative of dead animal and plant tissues. [Beilstein 1 IV 3017.]
  • IncompatibilitiesPure formaldehyde may polymerize unless properly inhibited (usually with methanol). May form explosive mixture with air. Incompatible with strong acids; amines, strong oxidizers; alkaline materials; nitrogen dioxide; performic acid; phenols, urea. Reaction with hydrochloric acid forms bis-chloromethyl ether, a carcino gen. Formalin is incompatible with strong oxidizers, alkalis, acids, phenols, urea, oxides, isocyanates, caustics, anhydrides.
  • Waste DisposalReturn refillable compressed gas cylinders to supplier. Incineration in solution of combus tible solvent. Consult with environmental regulatory agen cies for guidance on acceptable disposal practices. Generators of waste containing this contaminant (≥100 kg/mo) must conform with EPA regulations governing storage, trans portation, treatment, and waste disposal.
  • RegulationsCoast Guard, Department of Homeland Security
    46 CFR 150 and 151 detail procedures for shipping formaldehyde, formaldehyde solution, and 1,3,5-trioxane with incompatible chemicals.
    Minimum requirements have been established for safe transport of formaldehyde solutions on ships and barges.
    Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC)
    Formaldehyde and products containing 1% or more formaldehyde are considered “strong sensitizers” and must display a warning label.
    Department of Agriculture (USDA)
    Limits have been established for the amount of residual formaldehyde in inactivated bacterial products and killed-virus vaccines.
    Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
    All plywood and particleboard materials bonded with a resin system or coated with a surface finish containing formaldehyde shall not exceed the following emission levels when installed in manufactured homes: 0.2 ppm for plywood and 0.3 ppm for particleboard.
    Manufactured homes must prominently display a notice which provides information on formaldehyde sources, levels, health effects, and remedial actions to reduce indoor levels.
    Department of Transportation (DOT)
    Formaldehyde, formalin, and paraformaldehyde are considered hazardous materials, and special requirements have been set for marking, labeling, and transporting these materials, as prescribed in 49 CFR 172.
    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
    Clean Air Act
    Clean-Fuel Vehicles: Formaldehyde emissions limits have been established for various classes of cleanfuel vehicles.
    Control of Emissions from New and In-Use Highway Vehicles and Engines: Formaldehyde emissions limits have been established for various classes of vehicles.
    Mobile Source Air Toxics: Listed as a mobile source air toxic for which regulations are to be developed. National Emissions Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants: Listed as a hazardous air pollutant.
    New Source Performance Standards: Manufacture of formaldehyde is subject to certain provisions for the control of volatile organic compound emissions.
Formaldehyde Preparation Products And Raw materials
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