Formaldehyde

This page last reviewed February 26, 2015

Formaldehyde is a common indoor air pollutant found in virtually all homes and buildings. It is a colorless gas with a pungent odor, and at elevated levels is highly irritating to the eyes, nose, and lungs. Since 2004, formaldehyde has been recognized as a known human carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). In 2011, the National Toxicology Program (NTP) within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), in their Twelfth Report on Carcinogens, also classified formaldehyde as a known human carcinogen. Formaldehyde is released into the home from many indoor sources, including plywood, particleboard, and other pressed wood products used in home construction and furnishings, and many consumer products. Several documents are available that summarize the health effects of formaldehyde and discuss ways to reduce your exposure to it.

Resources

Reducing Your Exposure in the Home

Formaldehyde in Schools and Day Care Centers

Regulations

Emission Guidelines

Research

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