Formaldehyde is a colourless, flammable gas with a pungent odour. It goes by a number of names including: formaldehyde solution, formaldehyde gas, formalin, formalith, formol, formic aldehyde, methaldehyde, methyl aldehyde, methylene oxide, morbicid, oxomethane, oxymethylene and paraform.
Formaldehyde is toxic by inhalation, by skin contact, and by swallowing.
Formaldehyde is used in:
1. manufacturing many materials, such as plastics, foam insulation, fungicides, mirrors, insecticides, petroleum, resins and industrial chemicals
2. building materials, such as sheet vinyl flooring, doors, decking
3. timber materials, such as MDF, plywood and laminated timber, wall lining and coverings such as wallpaper
4. textiles and clothing, such as fabrics, blankets, and clothing finishes designed to gain permanent press and stain resistance
5. cosmetics and personal care products, such as cleansers, fingernail varnishes and hardeners, shampoos and conditioners, toothpastes and hair straightening solutions
6. household cleaning products, such as carpet and rug cleaners, disinfectants, dish washing liquids, and floor cleaner and polish.