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Formaldehyde

Who is at risk?

Formaldehyde is used in the production of building materials, particularly pressed wood products such as plywood and fibreboard and insulation materials.

The chemical also has uses as an industrial disinfectant and a preservative in funeral homes and medical laboratories.

Odour

Pungent, irritating odour

Toxicity

Formaldehyde is a known human carcinogenic. Extended exposure is associated with cancers of the lung, throat and nasal passages.

Exposure to high concentrations of formaldehyde gas poses an immediate danger to human health resulting in fluid build-up in the lungs and death.

Acute Exposure

Concentration Effect
0.5 - 2 ppm Eye, skin and throat irritation
3 - 5 ppm Tearing of the eyes
10 - 20 ppm Burning of nose and throat, difficulty in breathing and heavy tearing of the eyes
25 - 50 ppm Chest tightening, irregular heartbeat, severe lung irritation, pulmonary oedema
100 ppm Immediately dangerous to life and health, death.

Exposure Controls & Protection

Leak Detection & Monitoring

Periodic exposure monitoring

NFPA 704 Signal

  Hazard Value Description
Health 3 Can cause serious or permanent injury.
Flammability 2 Must be moderately heated or exposed to relatively high ambient temperatures before ignition can occur.
Instability 0 Normally stable, even under fire conditions
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