What are the possible side effects of exposure to formaldehyde?

Formaldehyde is a commonly used chemical in various industries as well as in household products. It is a compound utilized in a variety of products such as adhesives, paints, wood products, pharmaceutical products, antiseptics, disinfectants and even tobacco. The compound is also called as methylene oxide or methyaldehyde which is colorless yet has a pungent and strong odor at room temperature.

Formaldehyde is chiefly used as a chemical intermediate and produced on an industrial scale by the oxidation of methanol. The chemical can cause several side effects on humans based on the degree of exposure.


It is important to note that formaldehyde can be present in food artificially via contamination or in nature. Once ingested, formaldehyde can trigger corrosion of the gastrointestinal tract and can cause the formation of ulcers as well as the inflammation of the mouth, esophagus, stomach as well as the intestines.

Formaldehyde exposure

Severe exposure to formaldehyde via ingestion can instigate diarrhea, abdominal pain and even hemorrhage within the stomach or the intestines.

Severe exposure to formaldehyde via ingestion can instigate diarrhea, abdominal pain and even hemorrhage within the stomach or the intestines. The clinical indications include yellow discoloration of the skin, rapid breathing, blood-streaked urine and kidney failure.


Always bear in mind that the highest level of formaldehyde in the air has been detected in indoor air where it is released by various products such as building materials, cleaning agents and furnishings.

The inhalation of air that has been contaminated with formaldehyde can cause respiratory issues such as bronchitis, coughing, wheezing and chest pain. An acute exposure to formaldehyde through inhalation can lead to the irritation of the eyes, throat and also the nasal cavities. Chronic or extended exposure to the chemical by inhalation can lead to the formation of lesions in the lungs, labored breathing and even irreversible damage to the lungs. Individuals who constantly work with the chemical should always wear protective gear in order to avoid the development of health issues linked with extended use or handling of formaldehyde.

Contact with the skin

Once the skin gets in contact with formaldehyde, it can lead to irritation and even burn the skin. Prolonged exposure to formaldehyde can result to skin sensitization and often linked with a higher risk of cancer. Those who are allergic to formaldehyde are susceptible to skin irritation, dermatitis that often leads to scarring if not treated as well as skin rashes characterized by cracked, dry and reddened skin.

Individuals who are constantly exposed to formaldehyde usually develop allergies to the chemical. This is due to the fact that formaldehyde is basically a skin sensitizer and once an individual is sensitized to the chemical, contact even with minimal amounts in any form can trigger an outbreak of dermatitis.

It is best that you are prepared to handle an exposure to formaldehyde. All you have to do is to register for first aid training today so that you will know the appropriate steps to take.


No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Please complete this captcha * Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.