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Painting Tips
Jun 21, 2022

what is formaldehyde
As defined by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, formaldehyde is a colorless, flammable gas at room temperature with a strong odor. Exposure to formaldehyde may cause adverse health effects. Where is formaldehyde present?
Occurs naturally:
● 90% of the formaldehyde in the environment is produced by the movement of the upper atmosphere.
● Formaldehyde and its adducts are ubiquitous in living organisms. It is formed by the metabolism of amino acids and is present in the blood of humans and other primates at concentrations of about 0.1 millimolar.
● Humans will quickly metabolize trace amounts of formaldehyde in the body and convert it into formic acid, so it will not accumulate in the body and cause health problems.
● Formaldehyde is decomposed by sunlight or bacteria in water and soil, so it does not accumulate in the natural environment.
Industrial Manufacturing:
● For the manufacture of composite wood products against resins (plywood, plywood, MDF).
● Building materials and insulating materials.
● Household products such as glues, paints, coatings, finishes, paper products.
● Preservatives in some pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, and other consumer products such as detergents and softeners.
● Fertilizers and pesticides.
Uses of formaldehyde
● Formaldehyde is a common precursor for more complex compounds and materials. Products derived from formaldehyde include urea formaldehyde resins, melamine-formaldehyde resins, phenolic resins, polyoxymethylene plastics, 1,4-butanediol, and methylene diphenyl diisocyanate. The textile industry uses formaldehyde-based resins as finishing agents to make fabrics wrinkle-resistant.
● Polymers derived from formaldehyde are common permanent adhesives in plywood and carpet. In addition, it can be foamed to form insulating materials, or cast into mouldings. The production of formaldehyde resin accounts for more than half of formaldehyde consumption
● Formaldehyde is also a precursor to polyfunctional alcohols, such as pentaerythritol, which are used in the manufacture of paints and explosives.
Effects of formaldehyde on human health The main way people are exposed to formaldehyde is through breathing air containing formaldehyde released. Everyone is exposed to small amounts of formaldehyde in the air, which is released from the products mentioned above, such as composite wood products. The effect of formaldehyde on the human body depends on the concentration. In low concentrations, it can cause discomfort due to odor, and a little bit can even irritate the skin, eyes, nose and throat. Prolonged exposure at high concentrations may cause certain types of cancer. There is currently no uniform standard for what is a safe concentration. Some studies have concluded that below 0.3 ppm, most people's eyes will not feel irritation; below 0.1 ppm, almost everyone will not experience any irritation.

In 2010, the WHO has established indoor air quality guidelines for formaldehyde exposure of 0.08 ppm.
Works Cited“Facts About Formaldehyde.” EPA, Environmental Protection Agency, 18 Apr. 2022, Accessed 21 Jun.2022.
“Formaldehyde.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 19 June 2022, Accessed 21 Jun. 2022.
Golden, Robert. “Identifying an indoor air exposure limit for formaldehyde considering both irritation and cancer hazards.” Critical reviews in toxicology vol.
41,8 (2011): 672-721. doi:10.3109/10408444.2011.573467. Accessed 21 Jun. 2022.
Nielsen, Gunnar Damgård et al. “Re-evaluation of the WHO (2010) formaldehyde indoor air quality guideline for cancer risk assessment.” Archives of toxicology vol.
91,1 (2017): 35-61. doi:10.1007/s00204-016-1733-8. Accessed 21 Jun. 2022.
林慶順 . “油漆釋出的甲醛有害嗎.” 科學的養生保健, 25 Oct. 2019, Accessed 21 Jun. 2022.