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Formaldehyde (HCHO) Uses and Side Effects

Formaldehyde (CH2O) is a chemical compound that is widely used in a variety of industries and applications. It is a highly reactive gas with a pungent, suffocating smell, and is a powerful disinfectant and preservative.


One of the primary uses of formaldehyde is in the production of building materials, such as particleboard, plywood, and insulation. It is also used in the production of a variety of chemicals, including plastics, resins, and adhesives. Formaldehyde is also commonly used as a disinfectant and preservative in the medical and scientific industries.


Despite its many useful properties, formaldehyde can be toxic when inhaled and can have a range of adverse health effects. Here are some of the possible health effects of formaldehyde exposure:

  1. Respiratory irritation: Formaldehyde can irritate the respiratory tract, causing coughing, wheezing, and difficulty breathing. High concentrations of formaldehyde can cause inflammation of the respiratory tract and may lead to more serious respiratory problems.

  2. Eye irritation: Formaldehyde can also irritate the eyes, causing redness, tearing, and pain. Prolonged exposure to formaldehyde can lead to more serious eye damage, including corneal ulcers and scarring.

  3. Skin irritation: Formaldehyde can irritate the skin, causing redness, itching, and rash. Prolonged exposure to formaldehyde can lead to more serious skin irritation and may cause chemical burns.

  4. Central nervous system effects: Formaldehyde can affect the central nervous system, causing dizziness, headache, and fatigue. In severe cases, formaldehyde exposure can lead to coma and death.

  5. Long-term health effects: Prolonged exposure to formaldehyde can have long-term health effects, including an increased risk of developing cancer and other serious health problems.

It is important to avoid exposure to formaldehyde as much as possible. If you are working in an industry where you may be exposed to formaldehyde, it is important to take precautions to protect yourself, such as wearing protective clothing and using respiratory protection. It is also important to regularly monitor gas exposure to ensure that safe levels are not exceeded.

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