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What Is Formaldehyde?

Formaldehyde is a type of chemical compound that is of essential use to many manufacturing sectors and other industries. When talking of formaldehyde, most people will be more familiar with one of its forms – formalin. Formalin is a solution of formaldehyde that is famous for being used as an embalming fluid. Formaldehyde is quite toxic and it is known to cause cancer and also other health disorders.

Formaldehyde is classified as one of the simplest forms of aldehydes, which are chemical compounds that possess a terminal carbonyl group. A carbonyl group is an atom grouping that has, within it, a carbon atom that is double bonded to an oxygen atom. HCHO is the chemical formula for this chemical compound. The unique chemical formula of formaldehyde makes it a very versatile foundation or base for creating more complex aldehydes. Formaldehyde, in its pure form, is a colorless and gaseous compound. It is also quite reactive. Because of these properties, it is usually mixed in with other chemical compounds in order to create a more stable substance.

Formaldehyde has many industrial and manufacturing applications. It is an important ingredient in the manufacturing of glue, antiseptics, preservatives, resins, paints, embalming and film processing. Formaldehyde is actually quite abundant in the atmosphere because it is one of the byproducts of combustion. It is also naturally formed through atmospheric reactions. It is actually a major element that makes up smog.

Frequent and high exposure to formaldehyde can lead to cancer, as well as respiratory problems. Skin problems and inflammation of the mucus membrane are some of the short term effects of formaldehyde exposure.

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