IPCS INCHEM Home

    IPCS INTERNATIONAL PROGRAMME ON CHEMICAL SAFETY
    Health and Safety Guide No. 57

    FORMALDEHYDE
    HEALTH AND SAFETY GUIDE






    UNITED NATIONS ENVIRONMENT PROGRAMME

    INTERNATIONAL LABOUR ORGANISATION

    WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION




    WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION, GENEVA 1991

    This is a companion volume to Environmental Health Criteria 89:
    Formaldehyde

    Published by the World Health Organization for the International
    Programme on Chemical Safety (a collaborative programme of the United
    Nations Environment Programme, the International Labour Organisation,
    and the World Health Organization)

    This report contains the collective views of an international group of
    experts and does not necessarily represent the decisions or the stated
    policy of the United Nations Environment Programme, the International
    Labour Organisation, or the World Health Organization

    WHO Library Cataloguing in Publication Data

    Formaldehyde : health and safety guide.

   (Health and safety guide ; no. 57)

    1. Formaldehyde- standards  I. Series

    ISBN 92 4 151057 9          (NLM Classification: QV 225)
    ISSN 0259-7268

    (c) World Health Organization 1991

    Publications of the World Health Organization enjoy copyright protection
    in accordance with the provisions of Protocol 2 of the Universal
    Copyright Convention.  For rights of reproduction or translation of WHO
    publications, in part or  in toto, application should be made to the
    Office of Publications, World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland. 
    The World Health Organization welcomes such applications.

    The designations employed and the presentation of the material in this
    publication do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the
    part of the Secretariat of the World Health Organization concerning the
    legal status of any country, territory, city or area or of its
    authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or
    boundaries.

    The mention of specific companies or of certain manufacturers' products
    does not imply that they are endorsed or recommended by the World Health
    Organization in preference to others of a similar nature that are not
    mentioned.  Errors and omissions excepted, the names of proprietary
    products are distinguished by initial capital letters.

    CONTENTS

    INTRODUCTION

    1. PRODUCT IDENTITY AND USES
         1.1. Identity
         1.2. Physical and chemical properties
         1.3. Analytical methods
         1.4. Composition
         1.5. Uses

    2. SUMMARY AND EVALUATION
         2.1. Human exposure 
         2.2. Uptake, metabolism, and excretion
         2.3. Effects on organisms in the environment
         2.4. Effects on experimental animals
         2.5. Effects on human beings

    3. CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
         3.1. Conclusions
              3.1.1. Exposure
              3.1.2. Health effects
         3.2. Recommendations
              3.2.1. General
              3.2.2. Workplaces
              3.2.3. Cosmetics
              3.2.4. Disinfection
              3.2.5. Pathology
              3.2.6. Laboratories

    4. HUMAN HEALTH HAZARDS, PREVENTION AND PROTECTION, EMERGENCY ACTION
         4.1. Main human health hazards, prevention and protection,
              first aid
              4.1.1. Human health hazards, prevention and protection
              4.1.2. First aid
         4.2. Advice to physicians
         4.3. Explosion and fire hazards
              4.3.1. Explosion hazards
              4.3.2. Fire hazards
         4.4. Storage
         4.5. Transport
         4.6. Spillage and disposal advice
              4.6.1. Spillage
              4.6.2. Disposal

    5. HAZARDS FOR THE ENVIRONMENT AND THEIR PREVENTION

    6. SUMMARY OF CHEMICAL SAFETY INFORMATION

    7. CURRENT REGULATIONS AND GUIDELINES
         7.1. Exposure limit values
         7.2. Specific restrictions
         7.3. Labelling, packaging, and transport

    BIBLIOGRAPHY
    

    INTRODUCTION

    The Environmental Health Criteria (EHC) documents produced by the
    International Programme on Chemical Safety include an assessment of the
    effects on the environment and on human health of exposure to a chemical
    or combination of chemicals, or physical or biological agents.  They
    also provide guidelines for setting exposure limits.

    The purpose of a Health and Safety Guide is to facilitate the
    application of these guidelines in national chemical safety programmes.
    The first three sections of a Health and Safety Guide highlight the
    relevant technical information in the corresponding EHC.  Section 4
    includes advice on preventive and protective measures and emergency
    action; health workers should be thoroughly  familiar with the medical
    information to ensure that they can act efficiently in an emergency. 
    Within the Guide is a Summary of Chemical Safety Information which
    should be readily available, and should be clearly explained, to all who
    could come into contact with the chemical.  The section on regulatory
    information has been extracted from the legal file of the International
    Register of Potentially Toxic Chemicals (IRPTC) and from other United
    Nations sources.

    The target readership includes occupational health services, those in
    ministries, governmental agencies, industry, and trade unions who are
    involved in the safe use of chemicals and the avoidance of environmental
    health hazards, and those wanting more information on this topic.  An
    attempt has been made to use only terms that will be familiar to the
    intended user.  However, sections 1 and 2 inevitably contain some
    technical terms.  A bibliography has been included for readers who
    require further background information.

    Revision of the information in this Guide will take place in due course,
    and the eventual aim is to use standardized terminology.  Comments on
    any difficulties encountered in using the Guide would be very helpful
    and should be addressed to:

    The Manager
    International Programme on Chemical Safety
    Division of Environmental Health
    World Health Organization
    1211 Geneva 27
    Switzerland

    THE INFORMATION IN THIS GUIDE SHOULD BE CONSIDERED AS A STARTING POINT
    TO A COMPREHENSIVE HEALTH AND SAFETY PROGRAMME

    1.  PRODUCT IDENTITY AND USES

    1.1.  Identity

    Common name:                  formaldehyde

    Chemical formula:             CH2O [HCHO]

    Chemical structure:
                                  H
                                  '
                                  C = O
                                  '
                                  H

    CAS registry number:          50-00-0

    RTECS registry number:        LP 8925000

    UN numbers:                   1198, 2209, 2213

    EC numbers:                   605-001-01-2 (solution 5% to 25%)
                                  605-001-02-X (solution 1% to 5%)
                                  605-001-00-5 (solution 25%)

    IUPAC name:                   methanal

    Common synonyms:              formic aldehyde, methyl oxide, methylene
                                  oxide, oxymethylene, methyl aldehyde,
                                  oxomethane, fannoform, formalith, karsan

    Common names for
    solutions of formaldehyde:    formalin, formol

    Relative molecular mass:      30.03

    1.2  Physical and Chemical Properties

    Formaldehyde is a flammable, colourless, reactive, and readily
    polymerized gas at normal temperature and pressure.  The heat of
    combustion for formaldehyde gas is 4.47 kcal/g. It forms explosive
    mixtures with air and oxygen at atmospheric pressure.  Flammability is
    reported to range from 12.5 to 80% by volume, a 65-70% formaldehyde-air
    mixture being the most readily flammable.

    Formaldehyde is present in aqueous solutions as a hydrate and tends to
    polymerize.  At room temperature and with a formaldehyde content of 30%
    and more, the polymers precipitate, making the solution turbid.

    Formaldehyde decomposes into methanol and carbon monoxide at
    temperatures above 150C, though uncatalysed decomposition is slow at
    temperatures below 300C.

    Under atmospheric conditions, formaldehyde is readily photooxidized by
    sunlight to carbon dioxide.  It reacts relatively quickly with trace
    substances and pollutants in the air, and its half-life in urban air,
    under the influence of sunlight, is short. In the absence of nitrogen
    dioxide, the half-life of formaldehyde is approximately 50 min during
    the day; in the presence of nitrogen dioxide, it is about 35 min.

    1.3  Analytical Methods

    The most widely used methods for the determination of formaldehyde are
    based on spectrophotometry.  Depending on the method used, sensitivities
    of between 0.0036 and 0.3 mg/litre can be achieved.

    Other available methods include colorimetry, fluorimetry, high pressure
    liquid chromatography (HPLC), polarography, gas chromatography, infrared
    detection, and gas detector tubes.  HPLC is the most sensitive method. 
    In all these methods, other inorganic and organic chemicals, such as
    sulfur dioxide, other aldehydes, and amines, cause interference.

    The method of sampling and the treatment of the sample before analysis
    are important factors in the accuracy of the determination.

    Gas detector tubes or infrared analysers are often used for monitoring
    workplace atmospheres, and the sensitivity of these is generally around
    0.5-0.6 mg/litre.

    1.4  Composition

    Formaldehyde is most commonly available, commercially, as a 30-50% (by
    weight) aqueous solution.  Methanol or other substances are usually
    added to the solution as stabilizers, to reduce intrinsic
    polymerization.  The concentration of methanol can be as high as 15%,
    while that of other stabilizers is of the order of several hundred
    mg/litre. Concentrated liquid formaldehyde-water systems containing up
    to 95% formaldehyde are obtainable, but the temperature necessary to
    maintain solution and prevent separation of the polymer increases from
    room temperature to 120C, as the concentration in solution increases.

    In solid form, formaldehyde is marketed as trioxane (CH2O)3, and its
    polymer, paraformaldehyde, with 8-100 units of formaldehyde. 
    Paraformaldehyde is technologically important.

    1.5   Uses

    The uses of formaldehyde cover a wide spectrum.  Some examples are given
    below:

    (a)  Animal nutrition and agriculture

    In animal nutrition, formaldehyde may be added to feed to protect
    dietary protein from deamination by ruminal microorganisms in ruminants. 
    In the USA, formaldehyde is used as a food additive, to improve the

    handling characteristics of animal fat and oilseed cattle food mixtures,
    by producing a dry free-flowing product. Urea-formaldehyde fertilizer is
    used in farming, as a source of nitrogen, to improve the biological
    activity of the soil.

    (b)  Aminoplastics (urea formaldehyde resins and melamine formaldehyde
     resins)

    Reaction of formaldehyde with urea or melamine yields urea formaldehyde
    (UF) or melamine formaldehyde (MF) (condensation process).  Various
    concentrations of these synthetic resins are then used, in solution or
    powder form, for further processing.

    In the Federal Republic of Germany, about 70% of the total amount of
    aminoplastics produced, i.e., 170 000 tonnes of formaldehyde per annum,
    is used as glue in the manufacture of particle boards.  These boards are
    mostly manufactured from urea formaldehyde resins.

    About 10% of the aminoplastic glues used are melamine-urea-formaldehyde
    resins, i.e., products in which melamine and urea are co-condensed with
    formaldehyde.  Melamine resins are more damp-proof than urea resins, but
    they are also more expensive.

    Condensed aminoplastics of very low relative molecular mass serve as
    textile treatments, to make cotton and fabrics containing synthetic
    fibres creaseproof and permanently pressed.  In the USA, it is estimated
    that approximately 85% of all fabrics used in the clothing industry have
    been treated in this way.  Extremely stable aminoplastics are used, in
    order to ensure that they will not degrade during the lifetime of the
    articles.

    Compounds similar to those used in finishing textiles are used in the
    tanning of leather. Others are used in electrical engineering, e.g., in
    light switches, sockets, and in parts of electric motors, in mechanical
    engineering, in the motor-vehicle industry, for household articles,
    e.g., camping dishes, parts of electrical household appliances, lamps,
    and plumbing components.

    Aminoplastics are used in the paint industry as binding agents in
    special types of lacquer and paint, e.g., for cars. In agriculture, they
    are used as preservatives.  Aminoplastics in the form of foam resin are
    also used in carpet cleaning agents.

    (c)  Phenolic plastics (phenol formaldehyde resins)

    Phenolic plastics are synthetic resins in which formaldehyde is
    condensed with phenols.  Phenol, resorcinol, and cresols are among the
    phenolic components.  The wood-working industry is a major consumer.

    Other major areas of application are: in the production of hard
    materials, similar to those produced from aminoplastics; as a moulding
    material; and as a binder in enamel, paints, and lacquers.

    Phenolic plastics are used as binding agents in the production of
    insulating materials from rock-wool or glass fibres, in brake-linings,
    abrasive materials, and moulded laminated plastics.  They also serve as
    binding agents for moulding sand in foundries.

    (d)  Polyoxymethylene (polyacetal plastics)

    Polyoxymethylenes (POM) are another group of plastics produced by
    polymerizing formaldehyde.  They are used for parts of motor vehicles
    and machines that are subjected to mechanical or thermal stress, in
    precision and communication engineering, in household appliances, and in
    plumbing fixtures.

    (e)  Chemical intermediate

    Formaldehyde is an important raw material in the industrial synthesis of
    a number of organic compounds, e.g., 1,4-butane diol, pentaerythritol,
    methylenediphenyldiisocyanate, trimethylolpropane, neopentylglycol,
    hexamethylenetetramine, and chelating agents (NTA, EDTA).  It is also
    used in the production of dyes, dispersion products, pesticides,
    perfumes, and vitamins.

    (f)  Pharmaceutical products

    Products containing formaldehyde are now rarely used for disinfecting
    the skin and mucous membranes, but formaldehyde may be added to some
    pharmaceutical products as a preservative.

    Formaldehyde kills viruses, bacteria, fungi, and parasites, and has
    found wide use as a fumigant.  It is a disinfectant with a broad
    efficiency, and its virucidal properties make it extremely useful for
    disinfection in the clinical field.

    Root canal-filling sealants containing paraformaldehyde are used in
    dental surgery.

    (g)  Cosmetics

    Formaldehyde is used as a preservative in cosmetics and in
    nail-hardening agents.  Traces can also be found in cosmetics resulting
    from the disinfection of apparatus used in their manufacture.  Products
    containing formaldehyde are used for other purposes, e.g.,
    antiperspirants, skin-hardening agents, dry-skin lotion, shampoos, and
    bubble bath oil. 

    (h)  Other consumer goods

    Formaldehyde at a concentration of <1% is also used as a preservative
    in a variety of other consumer goods, such as household cleaning agents,
    dish-washing liquids, fabric softeners, shoe-care agents, car shampoos
    and waxes, and carpet-cleaning agents.

    2.  SUMMARY AND EVALUATION

    2.1  Human Exposure

    Air concentrations of formaldehyde, near the ground in coastal,
    mountain, and oceanic areas, were found to range from 0.05 to
    14.7 g/m3, the majority of concentrations being within the range of
    0.1-2.7 g/m3.  In the presence of man-made sources of formaldehyde,
    but away from any industrial plants, mean values ranged from 7 to
    12 g/m3, with a few peaks up to 60-90g/m3.  Data from different
    parts of the world were in good agreement.

    Rain-water contains 110-174 g formaldehyde/litre, with peaks as high as
    310-1380 g/litre.

    Emissions of formaldehyde from industrial processes vary widely,
    according to the type of industry.  A considerable amount of
    formaldehyde comes from the exhaust emission of motor vehicles, but this
    varies greatly, according to country and the quality of fuel.

    There is some natural formaldehyde in raw food, levels ranging from
    1 to 90 mg/kg.  Accidental contamination of food may occur during
    fumigation. Formaldehyde is sometimes used as a preservative, or it may
    be produced during cooking.

    Indoor air levels (non-industrial) depended on several factors, but
    mainly on the age of the building and the building materials, the type
    of construction, and the ventilation.  Tobacco smoke as well as
    ureaformaldehyde foam insulation and formaldehyde-containing
    disinfectants are all important sources of indoor formaldehyde.  Indoor
    levels varied widely in different situations, most being within the
    range of 10-4000 g/m3.  In some cases, low values were found in rooms
    with substantial sources of formaldehyde emission.  Area disinfection in
    hospitals produced the highest levels of up to 20 000 g/m3.
    However, persons carrying out such disinfection wear protective equipment
    and the areas are not occupied until the formaldehyde levels have fallen
    to 1200 g/m3 (1 ppm) or less. Levels in rooms in which there is
    tobacco smoking can exceed 100 mg/m3.

    The contribution of various atmospheric environments to the average
    human daily intake has been calculated to be 0.02 mg/day for outdoor
    air, 0.5-2 mg/day for indoor conventional buildings, 1-10 mg/day for
    buildings with sources of formaldehyde, 0.2-0.8 mg/day for workplaces
    where formaldehyde is not used, 4 mg/day for workplaces in which
    formaldehyde is used, and 0-1 mg/day for environmental tobacco smoke. 
    Smoking 20 cigarettes per day corresponds to an intake of 1 mg
    formaldehyde/day, through inhalation.

    The formaldehyde concentration in drinking-water is generally about
    0.1 mg/litre, resulting in a mean daily intake of 0.2 mg/day.  The
    quantity of formaldehyde ingested in food depends on the composition
    of the meal and, for an average adult, may range from 1.5 to 14 mg/day.

    2.2  Uptake, Metabolism, and Excretion

    Formaldehyde is readily absorbed via the respiratory and
    gastrointestinal routes.  Dermal absorption of formaldehyde appears to
    be very slight.  Increases in blood concentrations of formaldehyde were
    not detected in rats or human beings exposed to formaldehyde through
    inhalation, because of rapid metabolism.  Absorbed formaldehyde is
    metabolized rapidly to formate, or enters the one-carbon pool to be
    incorporated into other molecules.  There are two pathways of final
    elimination, namely, in exhaled air or via the kidneys.

    2.3  Effects on Organisms in the Environment

    Formaldehyde is used as a disinfectant to kill viruses, bacteria, fungi,
    and parasites, but it is only effective at relatively high
    concentrations.

    Algae, protozoa, and other unicellular organisms are relatively
    sensitive to formaldehyde, with acute lethal concentrations ranging from
    0.3 to 22 mg/litre. Aquatic invertebrates showed a wide range of
    responses; some crustaceans were the most sensitive, with median
    effective concentration (EC50) values ranging from 0.4 to
    20 mg/litre.  In 96-h tests on several fish species, the LC50 of
    formaldehyde for adults ranged from a minimum of about 10 mg/litre to a
    maximum of several hundred mg/litre; most species showed LC50 values
    in the range of 50-100 mg/litre.  The responses of various species of
    amphibians are similar to those of fish, with median acute lethal
    concentrations (LC50) ranging from 10 to 20 mg/litre for a 72-h
    exposure.

    No data are available on long-term aquatic studies.

    Eggs and larvae of some cattle parasites are killed by formaldehyde
    solution (1-5%) and some nematodes by a 37% solution, whereas other
    nematodes are unaffected.  In ruminant mammals, formaldehyde protects
    dietary protein from microbial proteolysis in the rumen and increases
    the efficiency of utilization of amino acids.

    Few data are available on the effects of formaldehyde on plants. 
    However, from the agricultural use of urea-formaldehyde fertilizers, it
    appears that, at recommended concentrations, formaldehyde does not alter
    nitrogen and carbohydrate metabolism in plants, but that high doses have
    negative effects on soil metabolism.  Formaldehyde impairs pollen
    germination.

    Formaldehyde undergoes rapid decomposition, and does not accumulate in
    the environment or in food chains.

    2.4  Effects on Experimental Animals

    Acute inhalation exposure of rats and mice to formaldehyde at very high
    concentrations (120 mg/m3) produced salivation, dyspnoea, vomiting,
    spasms, and death.  At a concentration of 1.2 mg/m3, eye irritation,
    decreased respiratory rate, increased airway resistance, and decreased
    compliance appeared.  Mice were more sensitive than rats. 

    Short-term, repeated exposures (7-25 mg/m3) of rats produced
    histological changes in the nasal epithelium, such as cell degeneration,
    inflammation, necrosis, squamous metaplasia, and increased cell
    proliferation.

    There is evidence that it is the concentration rather than the dose that
    determines the cytotoxic effects of formaldehyde on the nasal mucosa of
    rats; concentrations below 1 mg/m3 do not lead to cell damage and
    hyperplasia.

    Dose-related lesions, observed with long-term, repeated inhalation
    exposure (2.4, 6.7, or 17.2 mg/m3), were dysplasia and squamous
    metaplasia of the respiratory and olfactory epithelia, which regressed,
    to some extent, after cessation of exposure.

    Formaldehyde is carcinogenic in rats and mice.  It produced nasal
    squamous cell carcinomas in rats exposed to high concentrations
    (17.2 mg/m3), which also caused severe tissue damage.  The
    concentration-response curve was extremely non-linear with a
    disproportionate increase in tumour incidence at higher concentrations. 
    A low, but not statistically significant, incidence of nasal tumours
    occurred at 6.7 mg/m3.  No tumours were found at other sites.  Mice
    developed squamous cell carcinomas of the nasal cavity with long-term
    exposure to 17.2 mg formaldehyde/m3, but this finding was not
    statistically significant. No tumours were found at other sites.  No
    tumours were found in hamsters.

    Long-term oral administration of formaldehyde (0.02-5% in the
    drinking-water) was found to induce papillomas in the forestomach of
    rats.

    Several skin initiation/promotion studies on formaldehyde in mice did
    not produce evidence of skin carcinogenicity; the results, with regard
    to promotion, were either negative or inconclusive.

    The International Agency for Research on Cancer has concluded that there
    is sufficient evidence for the carcinogenicity of formaldehyde in
    animals.

    2.5  Effects on Human Beings

    Formaldehyde has a pungent odour, detectable at low concentrations, and
    its vapour and solutions are known skin and eye corrosives or irritants
    (depending on the concentration) in human beings.  The common effects of
    formaldehyde exposure are various symptoms caused by irritation of the
    mucosa in the eyes and upper airways.  In the non-industrial indoor
    environment, sensory reactions are typical effects, but there are large
    individual differences in the normal population and between
    hyperreactive and sensitized people.

    There are a few case reports of asthma-like symptoms caused by
    formaldehyde. However, none of these conformed to classical asthma, and
    were neither Type I nor Type IV reactions.  Irritation of the airways
    was considered to be the primary cause.  Skin sensitization is induced
    only by direct skin contact with formaldehyde solutions at
    concentrations higher than 2%.  The lowest patch-test challenge
    concentration in an aqueous solution, reported to produce a reaction in
    sensitized persons, was 0.05% formaldehyde.

    Formaldehyde does not have any adverse effects on reproduction, and is
    not teratogenic.

    In  in vitro studies, formaldehyde interfered with DNA repair in human
    cells, but there are no data relating to mutagenic outcomes.

    The International Agency for Research on Cancer has concluded that there
    is limited evidence for the carcinogenicity of formaldehyde in human
    beings.

    3.  CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

    3.1  Conclusions

    3.1.1  Exposure

    Formaldehyde occurs naturally and is a product of normal metabolic
    pathways in many species.  It is a widely produced industrial chemical. 
    Major sources of formaldehyde are automobile and aircraft exhaust
    emissions, tobacco smoke, natural gas, fossil fuels, waste incineration,
    and oil refineries.

    Formaldehyde exposure varies widely, because of local variations in
    emissions from natural and man-made sources.  Significant levels of
    formaldehyde have been reported in indoor air arising from tobacco
    smoking, building and furnishing materials, and the use of
    formaldehyde-containing disinfectants.  In workplaces, exposure can
    occur during the production, or handling, of formaldehyde, or products
    containing formaldehyde.

    3.1.2  Health effects

    The most prominent features of formaldehyde vapour are its pungent odour
    and its irritant effects on the mucosa of the eyes and upper airways. 
    Odour-detection thresholds are in the range of
    0.1-0.3 mg/m3.  Thus, some individuals can smell formaldehyde at very
    low concentrations.

    Eye and respiratory-tract irritation can occur at levels of about
    1 mg/m3, but discomfort has been reported at much lower levels. 
    Direct contact with formaldehyde solutions at concentrations of 1-2% can
    cause skin irritation in some individuals.  In general, solutions
    containing between 5% and 25% are irritant, those containing more than
    25% formaldehyde are corrosive;  below 5%, irritancy decreases with
    decreasing concentration.  Long-term exposure of the skin can lead to
    allergic contact dermatitis, but this has been demonstrated only for
    formaldehyde solution and not for gaseous formaldehyde.

    Reversible obstruction of the airways has been produced by irritant
    concentrations of formaldehyde, and long-term exposure to formaldehyde
    at levels as low as 0.5 mg/m3 may cause a slight elevation in airway
    resistance.  Formaldehyde-related asthma is unusual, despite widespread
    population exposure to formaldehyde.

    In dental surgery, in order to avoid adverse reactions, root canal
    sealants should not be extruded beyond the apex.

    There is no convincing evidence that formaldehyde is teratogenic, in
    either animals or human beings; it has not produced any adverse effects
    on reproduction in test animals or in human beings.

    Formaldehyde is positive in a wide range of mutagenicity test systems in
    vitro; results of in vivo test systems are conflicting.  It has been
    shown to form DNA-protein cross-links  in vitro and  in vivo in rat
    nasal mucosa.  In vivo, this occurred at an exposure concentration of
    1.1 mg/m3.  Formaldehyde interferes with DNA repair in human cells  in
     vitro.

    Following inhalation exposure at levels causing cell damage, a
    significant incidence of squamous cell carcinomas of the nasal cavity
    was induced in two strains of rat.  Nasal tumours in mice have also been
    reported, but the incidence was not statistically significant.  There
    were no tumours at other sites.

    A limited number of forestomach papillomas were reported in rats
    following the administration of formaldehyde in the drinking-water.

    In human beings, though an increased risk for a number of cancers has
    been reported, the causal role of formaldehyde is considered likely only
    for nasal and nasopharyngeal cancer.

    3.2  Recommendations

    3.2.1  General

    Human exposure to formaldehyde should be controlled.

    It is recommended that consumer goods containing formaldehyde should be
    labelled, in order to protect persons with a formaldehyde allergy.

    3.2.2  Workplaces

    Personal protective clothing should be required only under exceptional
    circumstances.  Normally, plant design and operating procedures should
    make the use of personal protection unecessary.  Work procedures must
    always be planned so that skin contact with formaldehyde solutions is
    avoided.  Washing facilities should be readily available so that
    contaminated skin can be washed immediately with ample quantities of
    water.

    Any work involving formaldehyde or paraformaldehyde should, whenever
    possible, be carried out using enclosed systems.  Pipes carrying
    formaldehyde should be distinctly and durably marked.  Flange
    connections should be equipped with a splash guard.

    The release of formaldehyde into workplace atmospheres should be
    prevented during filling or emptying operations, for example, by the use
    of the gas pendulum method or suitable suction devices, and the
    introduction of formaldehyde via ports.  Areas in which formaldehyde is
    handled must be well ventilated.  Normally, mechanical ventilation is
    necessary.

    For sampling, open contact with formaldehyde should be avoided by using
    sampling ports, closed sampling vessels, or vacuum samplers.

    Work procedures must always be planned so that skin contact with
    formaldehyde solutions is avoided.  Washing facilities should be readily
    available to enable contaminated skin to be washed immediately with
    ample quantities of water.

    Where the release of formaldehyde from processes cannot be prevented by
    technical measures, suction devices at the release points or adequate
    ventilation should be used, to ensure the safe removal of gaseous
    formaldehyde.

    When exhaust gases from equipment or rooms containing formaldehyde are
    vented to the atmosphere, the installation of purification or
    destruction units may be required.

    3.2.3  Cosmetics

    Cosmetics (creams) containing formaldehyde should be suitably labelled,
    giving the concentration.  Levels in oral health products should be
    strictly limited.

    The concentration of formaldehyde, used as a preservative agent in
    cosmetics, should not exceed 0.2%, except in the case of nail hardeners,
    which may contain up to 5% formaldehyde.

    3.2.4  Disinfection

    Because of the sensitizing potential, skin contact with
    formaldehyde-containing disinfectants should be avoided by wearing
    impermeable gloves.  Thermal procedures are preferred for disinfection
    or sterilization.  If instruments are disinfected using formaldehyde,
    closed containers should be used. Incubators for babies, endoscopes, and
    tubes (e.g., endotracheal, gastric) should not be sterilized with
    formaldehyde.

    Appropriate laundering procedures are preferred for the disinfection of
    clothing.  Any "tub-disinfection" of clothing in formaldehyde solution
    should be exceptional and, if used, the "tub" must be closed with a
    tight-fitting lid.  Gloves (and, if necessary, respirators) should be
    worn for the initial handling of formaldehyde-disinfected clothing. 
    Steam disinfecting is the method of choice for mattresses; spraying with
    disinfectants is considered obsolete.  However, mattresses covered with
    synthetic materials can be disinfected by wiping with formaldehyde
    solution, but this should only be performed under well-ventilated
    conditions.

    Care should be taken when using formaldehyde solutions for area
    disinfection. Wiping or scrubbing is recommended and the spraying of
    formaldehyde solutions should be confined to inaccessible places. 
    Direct contact with the formaldehyde solution should be avoided by the
    use of gloves and suitable protective clothing. Large-area disinfection,
    e.g., of laboratories, should be done after working hours.  Good
    ventilation during and after disinfection is mandatory.

    3.2.5  Pathology

    Fixation of tissues in formalin baths should be performed in closed
    containers, under an exhaust hood.  Fixed tissue slices should then be
    washed with water to remove superfluous formaldehyde, before viewing
    them under the microscope.

    3.2.6  Laboratories

    In all laboratories, any work using formaldehyde or paraformaldehyde
    should be carried out under an exhaust hood, using enclosed equipment.

    4.  HUMAN HEALTH HAZARDS, PREVENTION AND PROTECTION, EMERGENCY ACTION

    4.1  Main Human Health Hazards, Prevention and Protection, First Aid

    4.1.1  Human health hazards, prevention, and protection

    Workers must be informed of the possible dangers associated with the
    handling of formaldehyde, and instructed on safety precautions.  When a
    risk to workers handling formaldehyde cannot be ruled out by technical
    means, personal protective equipment must be made available and used.

    Individuals with an allergy to formaldehyde should not work with it.

    Some technical protective measures are described in section 3.2.

    Working clothes and personal protective equipment, including protective
    clothing that has been contaminated with formaldehyde or
    paraformaldehyde, must be changed and either thoroughly cleaned or
    destroyed.

    Storage of food, eating, drinking, and smoking, should not take place in
    workplaces where formaldehyde is used.

    If there is a risk of inhaling toxic concentrations of formaldehyde, for
    example, during open sampling or repair work, under uncontrolled working
    conditions, or in emergencies, breathing masks should be worn.  As the
    effectiveness of gas filters is extremely limited, they should only be
    used if the total atmospheric contaminant concentration, including
    formaldehyde, is 1% (by volume) or less, and the oxygen content of the
    air is not less than 17% (by volume).

    At higher concentrations of formaldehyde, or with prolonged exposures to
    formaldehyde-containing atmospheres, or under uncertain conditions,
    self-contained breathing apparatus or an independent air supply must be
    used.  A full face-mask provides additional eye and face protection.

    When working with formaldehyde solutions or paraformaldehyde, safety
    glasses (framed spectacles with side protection) must be worn.  If eye
    irritation is expected, full goggles must be used.

    During work involving a risk of skin contact with formaldehyde solutions
    or paraformaldehyde, well-fitting full goggles, suitable protective
    gloves, boots, and, possibly, an impermeable safety suit should also be
    worn.

    4.1.2  First aid

    All persons handling formaldehyde or paraformaldehyde should be informed
    about the health risks and given instructions on the actions to take in
    case of accident.

    If formaldehyde poisoning is suspected, the affected person must be
    removed from the danger area immediately.  First-aid and rescue
    personnel must protect themselves against contact with formaldehyde (for
    example, breathing protection, protective gloves).  Medical advice
    should be sought without delay and the physician given details
    concerning both the exposure and the first-aid measures applied.

    Advice on first-aid measures is given in the Summary of Chemical Safety
    Information (section 6).

    4.2  Advice to Physicians

    There is no specific antidote.  If formaldehyde has been ingested, a
    stomach lavage can be performed, providing that full precautions are
    taken against inadvertent inhalation.  In all cases of formaldehyde
    poisoning, maintain electrolyte balance, treat pain, and combat shock.

    4.3  Explosion and Fire Hazards

    Formaldehyde gas is flammable with a flash-point of 50C.  Formaldehyde
    and formaldehyde solutions will burn above the flash-point, if exposed
    to flames or sparks.  The flash-point depends on the concentration of
    methanol, and can vary between 50C and 85C.  When formaldehyde is
    heated above its flash-point, it explodes (autoignition temperature,
    430C).

    4.3.1  Explosion hazards

    Work areas where formaldehyde is present, or can be present, in such
    quantities that the lower explosion limit (7% volume) is reached, should
    be considered as fire and explosion risk areas.

    Rooms in which aqueous formaldehyde solutions and paraformaldehyde are
    stored or handled at normal temperature (below the flash-point) are not
    explosion risks.

    4.3.2  Fire hazards

    There is a fire risk in rooms in which aqueous formaldehyde solutions
    and paraformaldehyde are stored at normal temperature.  Smoking, open
    flames, and lights are prohibited.  Electrical installations must be
    explosion-proof.  The same restrictions apply to rooms in which work is
    carried out using aqueous methanol-containing formaldehyde solutions or
    paraformaldehyde heated beyond the ignition point.

    Foam, carbon dioxide, and water are suitable for putting out fires. 
    Powder extinguishers are of limited use, except in the case of small
    fires.  Keep drums or containers of formaldehyde cool by spraying with
    water.

    4.4  Storage

    Containers of stainless steel, pure aluminium, polyethylene, and
    polyester reinforced with glass fibre are suitable for the storage and
    shipping of formaldehyde solutions.  Normal steel containers with a
    corrosion-proof lining, e.g., phenol-formaldehyde resin or asphalt
    varnish, or with a rubber inner coating can also be used.  Aluminium is
    extremely prone to corrosion by formaldehyde, at temperatures above 60
    C.  Containers made of ordinary steel, copper, nickel, or zinc
    compounds, with unprotected surfaces, are unsuitable.

    To avoid precipitation of paraformaldehyde, minimum storage temperatures
    for formaldehyde solutions of various concentrations are specified by
    the manufacturers. Do not store at temperatures below 15C.

    During the filling of containers, exhaust air should be purified or
    recycled, using the gas pendulum method.  Hoses used for the transfer of
    formaldehyde should not be used for any other substances.

    4.5  Road Transport

    In case of accident, stop the engine.  Remove all sources of ignition. 
    Keep bystanders at a distance and mark the road.

    In case of spillage or fire, use the methods advised in sections 4.6 and
    4.3, respectively.  In case of poisoning, follow the advice in section
    4.1.2 and in the Summary of Chemical Safety Information (section 6).

    4.6  Spillage and Disposal Advice (based on the IRPTC waste disposal file)

    4.6.1  Spillage

    Before cleaning up spilled formaldehyde solutions, workers should put on
    breathing equipment and suitable protective clothing (protective
    goggles, protective gloves, rubber boots, safety suit).

    Use absorbent paper to mop up spilled material. Follow by washing
    surfaces well with soap and water. Seal all wastes in vapour-tight
    plastic bags for eventual disposal.  Larger quantities should be
    collected by pumping into containers, or by the use of sorbents (e.g.,
    kieselguhr or exfoliated mica).  Solutions containing formaldehyde are
    water-contaminating and should be disposed of safely. 
    Formaldehyde-containing absorbents, or soil contaminated with
    formaldehyde, should be disposed of in a suitable manner.

    Working clothes and personal protective equipment, including protective
    clothing contaminated with formaldehyde or paraformaldehyde, must be
    changed and either cleaned or destroyed.

    If transported, formaldehyde waste should be clearly labelled.

    4.6.2  Disposal

    The International Register of Potentially Toxic Chemicals provides the
    following advice on waste treatment and disposal methods:

         "Recommendable:  incineration, oxidation, discharge to sewer. 

         Not Recommendable:  evaporation, alkaline hydrolysis.

         Dissolve in a combustible solvent, thence spray the solution into
         a furnace with afterburner.

         Dilute formaldehyde waste with a large amount of water and treat
         the solution by hypochlorite solution.  Concentration of
         formaldehyde on the solution should be below 2%, in order to avoid
         excess exothermic reaction heat.

         Formaldehyde is a powerful reducing agency and many oxidants can be
         used but may react violently (must be diluted).

         Alkaline hydrolysis may be dangerous because of exothermic
         reaction."

    5.  HAZARDS FOR THE ENVIRONMENT AND THEIR PREVENTION

    Formaldehyde is widely present in the environment, as a result of
    natural processes and from man-made sources.  Most of the formaldehyde
    enters the atmosphere, where it is rapidly degraded by photolysis and
    photo-oxidation by hydroxyl radicals.  Formaldehyde in soil and water is
    also biodegraded in a relatively short time.  In water, one pathway of
    degradation is rapid hydration to methylene glycol.

    Formaldehyde is toxic for several aquatic organisms, but its ready
    biodegradability, low bioaccumulation, and the ability of organisms to
    metabolize it indicate that the impact of formaldehyde on the aquatic
    environment is limited, except in the case of major pollution.  Similar
    considerations apply to the atmosphere and the terrestrial environment
    where hazards will only occur when massive discharges or releases lead
    to major local pollution.  The non-persistence of formaldehyde means
    that effects will not be permanent.

    The main feature in the prevention of hazards for the environment is the
    control of the emissions, release, and disposal of formaldehyde.

    6. SUMMARY OF CHEMICAL SAFETY INFORMATION

     This summary should be easily available to all health workers
     concerned with, and users of, formaldehyde. It should be displayed  at,
    or near, entrances to areas where there is potential exposure to
     formaldehyde, and on processing equipment and containers.  The  summary
    should be translated into the appropriate language(s).  All  persons
    potentially exposed to the chemical should also have the  instructions
    in the summary clearly explained.

     Space is available for insertion of the National Occupational  Exposure
    Limit, the address and telephone number of the National  Poison Control
    Centre, and local trade names.



        FORMALDEHYDE

    Methanal, methylene oxide, oxymethylene, methylaldehyde, oxomethane, formalin (solution), formol (solution)

                                                                                                                                         

    PHYSICAL PROPERTIES                                                   OTHER CHARACTERISTICS
                                                                                                                                         

    Gas

    Relative molecular mass                           30.03               Colourless gas at normal temperature and
    Melting point (C)                               -118                 pressure; pungent odour, detectable at low
    Boiling point (C) at ambient pressure                                concentrations
      (3.33kPa or 25 mmHg)                           -19.2 
    Water solubility at 30C (g/100 ml water)        55
    Vapour pressure         (kPa at -19C)           101.3
                            (kPa at -33C)           52.6
    Flash-point (C)                                 300 
    Explosivity range in air (g/m3)                  87-910 (7-73%)

    Solution

    Aqueous solution (37-50% formaldehyde
      with varying amounts of methanol)
    Boiling point (C)                               97
    Freezing point (C) without methanol              -15
    Flash-point (C) without methanol                85
    Flash-point (C) with 15% methanol               50

                                                                                                                                         

    HAZARDS/SYMPTOMS                        PREVENTION AND PROTECTION                    FIRST AID
                                                                                                                                         

    Formaldehyde is a suspected human
    carcinogen by the inhalation route

    SKIN: Vapour is irritant; solutions     Handle mechanically, where possible,         Remove contaminated clothing immediately;
    may be corrosive or irritant,           in proper enclosures or cabinets             wash contaminated skin thoroughly with
    depending on formaldehyde               with exhaust ventilation; where              running water and soap; continue for 
    concentration; redness of skin,         appropriate, wear clean impervious           at least 10 minutes; protect from heat
    burns, scaly and brittle nails          gloves and apron to deflect                  loss; obtain medical advice
                                            splashes; wear freshly laundered
                                            clothes; remove and wash clothes
                                            thoroughly after contamination

    EYE: Vapour is irritant and             Ensure vapour concentrations are             Irrigate eyes with potable water or
    lacrimatory; solutions may be           below occupational exposure limits;          sterile eyewash solution for at 
    corrosive or irritant, depending        wear chemical goggles or face visor          least 15 minutes; obtain medical advice
    on formaldehyde concentration           when handling solutions

    INGESTION:  Formaldehyde solutions      Do not eat, drink, or smoke while            Do not induce vomiting; obtain medical
    may irritate the upper gastro-          handling chemicals; use good                 advice; water can be sipped (dilution
    intestinal tract or have corrosive      work and personal hygiene practices          effect); milk can be sipped (protein
    effects, depending on formaldehyde                                                   binds with formaldehyde) 
    concentration; abdominal pain,
    nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, 
    convulsions, coma

    INHALATION: Irritation, which                                                        Remove from danger zone to the fresh
    may be severe, possibility of oedema;                                                air; absolute rest; if unconscious,
    sore throat, shortness of breath,                                                    maintain three-quarter prone position;
    laboured breathing, congling                                                         protect against heat loss; give oxygen;
    bronchospasm, nausea, dizziness,                                                     if breathing stops, commence artificial
    loss of consciousness                                                                respiration, if possible with
                                                                                         respirator; obtain medical advice

                                                                                                                                         

    HAZARDS/SYMPTOMS                        PREVENTION AND PROTECTION                    FIRST AID
                                                                                                                                         

    ENVIRONMENT:  Half-life in the          Industrial emissions, discharges, and
    environment is short; formaldehyde      waste disposal should be minimized
    is toxic for aquatic organisms;         and regulated
    should not pose an environmental
    risk, except in the case of  major
    discharges, when there could be
    local, but not persistent, effects

                                                                                                                                         

    SPILLAGE                                STORAGE                                      FIRE AND EXPLOSION
                                                                                                                                         

    SOLUTIONS:  Wear rubber gloves          Store in a cool dark place in 
    and boots; absorb on paper, earth,      light-proof containers
    sand, or equivalent, and shovel into
    a sealable container; dispose of
    drummed material as hazardous
    chemical waste

                                                                                                                                         

    WASTE DISPOSAL                          NATIONAL INFORMATION                         LABELLING
                                                                                                                                         

    Incineration; oxidation                 National Occupational Exposure               UN: Hazard Class 3 : Flammable liquid
                                            Limit:                                       (applies to flammable formaldehyde
                                                                                         solutions)
                                            National Poison Control Centre:
                                                                                         Hazard Class 9 : Miscellaneous dangerous
                                                                                         substances;  and 
                                            Local trade names:                           Packing Class III : Substance presenting minor
                                                                                         danger (applies to formaldehyde solutions)

                                                                                                                                         
    


    7.  CURRENT REGULATIONS, GUIDELINES, AND STANDARDS

    The information given in this section has been extracted from the
    International Register of Potentially Toxic Chemicals (IRPTC) legal
    file. A full reference to the original national document from which
    the information was extracted can be obtained from IRPTC.  When no
    effective date appears in the IRPTC legal file, the year of the
    reference from which the data are taken is indicated by (r).

    The reader should be aware that regulatory decisions about chemicals,
    taken in a certain country, can only be fully understood in the
    framework of the legislation of that country.  The regulations and
    guidelines of all countries are subject to change and should always be
    verified with appropriate regulatory authorities before application

    7.1  Exposure Limit Values

    Some exposure limit values are given on pages 39 to 43.

    7.2  Specific Restrictions

    In the Federal Republic of Germany, emissions of formaldehyde are
    controlled. Formaldehyde is included in Class 1, in which the air
    emissions of organic compounds must not exceed (as the sum of all
    compounds in one class) a mass concentration of 20 mg/m3, at a mass
    flow equal to, or greater than, 0.1 kg/h.

    In the European Economic Community, formaldehyde, in quantities equal
    to, or greater than, 50 tonnes (at concentrations greater than 90%) is
    listed as a dangerous substance in the 1988 Directive on the Major
    Accident Hazards of Certain Industrial Activities.

    In the United Kingdom, formaldehyde is classified as a poisonous
    substance and its sale is subject to restrictions.

    The USA designates formaldehyde, and any isomers, hydrates, and
    solutions and mixtures containing formaldehyde, as hazardous
    substances for the purposes of discharge (including spillage and
    leakage), under the 1981 Federal Water Pollution Control Act.  Unless
    in compliance with a specified permit or procedure, the USA Government
    must be notified of any discharge of formaldehyde in, or on, navigable
    waters, adjoining shorelines, or the contiguous zone, in an amount
    equal to, or more than, 454 kg in any 24-h period.  Permits are
    required for the discharge of formaldehyde from any point source into
    USA national waters.  Formaldehyde in outfalls must be reported.  Even
    if not required in the permit, discharge of formaldehyde must be
    reported, if it exceeds the highest concentration of 100 g/litre,
    five times the maximum concentration reported in the permit
    application, or the level established by the US EPA Director.  Any
    solid waste containing formaldehyde must be listed as hazardous waste
    and subject to handling, transport, treatment, storage, and disposal
    regulation, permit, and notification requirements, unless it is found

    that the waste cannot pose a threat to human health or the
    environment, when improperly managed.  Certain specified industrial
    solid wastes containing formaldehyde are classified as hazardous
    wastes.  According to the US EPA hazard-ranking system for the
    identification of hazardous waste facilities, formaldehyde is assigned
    a toxicity value of 3 (on a 0-3 scale), a persistence value of 0, an
    ignitability value of 2, and a reactivity value of 2.

    7.3  Labelling, Packaging, and Transport

    In the European Economic Community, formaldehyde is classified for
    labelling purposes in accordance with the concentration of the
    solution.  Solutions containing 25% or more formaldehyde are labelled:

          Toxic by inhalation, in contact with skin and if swallowed; 
          causes burns;  possible risk of irreversible effects;  may cause
          sensitization by skin contact.

    Solutions containing between 1% and 5% formaldehyde are labelled:

          Possible risk of irreversible effects;  may cause sensitization
          by skin contact.

    In the United Kingdom, for road tankers transporting formaldehyde
    solutions with a flash-point below 60.5C, the required label is: 

          Other hazardous substance..

    For the purposes of marine transportation, the International Maritime
    Organization (IMO) classifies formaldehyde in Hazard Class 3.3 - 
    Flammable Liquid-;  Packing Group II - Substance Presenting Medium
    Danger (applies to solutions).  For solutions of formaldehyde with a
    flashpoint above 60C (closed-cup), the IMO classification is Hazard
    Class 9 -  Miscellaneous Dangerous Substances-;  Packing Group III -
    Substance Presenting Minor Danger.

    The United Nations transport classification for non-flammable
    formaldehyde solutions is Hazard Packing Group III - Substance
    Presenting Minor Danger; For flammable formaldehyde solutions, the
    classification is Hazard Class 3 - Flammable Liquid.

    In Canada, formaldehyde solutions with a flash-point greater than 61C
    are subject to transport restrictions in the category of miscellaneous
    dangerous goods.  The maximum amount per package that may be
    transported on a passenger aircraft, train, or road vehicle, is
    100 litres;  on a cargo aircraft, the maximum amount per package is
    200 litres.  Solutions with a flash-point of less than 61C, in
    containers having a water capacity not greater than 454 litres, are in
    the category of flammable liquid, hazardous to the environment, and
    Packing Group II (Medium Danger).  The maximum amount per package that
    may be transported on a passenger aircraft, train, or road vehicle is

    5 litres; on a cargo aircraft, the maximum amount per package is
    60 litres.  Where the containers have a capacity greater than
    454 litres, the maximum amount per package that may be transported on
    a passenger aircraft, train, or road vehicle, is 60 litres; on a cargo
    aircraft, the maximum amount per package is 220 litres.



        EXPOSURE LIMIT VALUES

                                                                                                                                         

    Medium      Specification       Country/            Exposure limit description                          Value           Effective
                                    organization                                                            (mg/m3)         datea
                                                                                                                                         

    AIR         Occupational        Australia           Threshold limit value (TLV)                                         1985
                                                        - Time-weighted average (TWA)                       1.5
                                                        - Short-term exposure limit (STEL)                  3.0
                                                          (Suspected carcinogenic potential for man)

                                    Belgium             Threshold limit value (TLV)                                         1989
                                                        - Time-weighted average (TWA)                       1.5
                                                        - Short-term exposure limit (STEL)                  3.0
                                                          (Suspected carcinogenic potential for man)

                                    Brazil              Allowable limit (AL)                                                1982
                                                        - Time-weighted average (TWA)                       2.3
                                                          (48 h/week)

                                    Canada              Threshold limit value (TLV)
                                                        - Time-weighted average (TWA)                       1.5             1980
                                                        - Short-term exposure limit (STEL)                  3.0
                                                          (Suspected human carcinogen)

                                    Czechoslovakia      Maximum allowable concentration (MAC)                               1985
                                                        - Time-weighted average (TWA)                       0.5
                                                        - Ceiling value (CLV)                               1.0

                                    Finland             Maximum permissible concentration (MPC)                             1989r
                                                        - Short-term exposure limit (STEL)                  1.3

                                    Germany, Federal    Maximum worksite concentration (MAK)                                1989r
                                    Republic of         - Time-weighted average (TWA)                       0.6
                                                        - Short-term exposure limit (STEL) (5-min
                                                          ceiling value)                                    1.2
                                                          (local irritant; sensitization; suspected
                                                          carcinogenic potential)

                                                                                                                                         

    Medium      Specification       Country/            Exposure limit description                          Value           Effective
                                    organization                                                            (mg/m3)         datea
                                                                                                                                         

    AIR         Occupational        Hungary             Maximum allowable concentration (MAC)                               1985r
                                                        - Time-weighted average (TWA)                       1.0
                                                        - Short-term exposure limit (STEL)                  2.0
                                                          (30-min)

                                    Italy               Threshold limit value (TLV)                                         1985r
                                                        - Time-weighted average (TWA)                       1.2

                                    Japan               Maximum allowable concentration (MAC)                               1988r
                                                        - Ceiling limit value (CLV)                         2.5

                                    Netherlands         Maximum limit (MXL)                                                 1987r
                                                        - Time-weighted average (TWA)                       1.5
                                                        - Short-term exposure limit (STEL)                  3.0

                                    Poland              Maximum permissible concentration (MPC)                             1985r
                                                        - Time-weighted average (TWA)                       2.0

                                    Romania             Maximum permissible concentration (MPC)                             1985r
                                                        - Ceiling limit value (CLV)                         4.0

                                    Sweden              Hygienic limit value (HLV)                                          1988
                                                        - Time-weighted average (TWA)                       0.6
                                                        - Ceiling limit value (CLV)                         1.2
                                                          (sensitization)

                                    Switzerland         Maximum worksite concentration (MAK)                                1987r
                                                        - Time-weighted average (TWA)                       1.2
                                                          (sensitizer)

                                    United              Control limit (CL)                                                  1986
                                    Kingdom             - Time-weighted average (TWA)                       2.5
                                                        - Short-term exposure limit (STEL)                  2.5
                                                          (10-min)

                                                                                                                                         

    Medium      Specification       Country/            Exposure limit description                          Value           Effective
                                    organization                                                            (mg/m3)         datea
                                                                                                                                         

    AIR         Occupational        *USA (ACGIH)        Recommended threshold limit value (TLV)
                                                        - Time-weighted average (TWA)                       1.2             1990
                                                        - Short-term exposure limit (STEL)                  2.5
                                                          (Suspected carcinogenic potential)

                                    (OSHA)              Permissible exposure limit (PEL)
                                                        - Time-weighted average (TWA)                       3.7             1988
                                                        - Ceiling value (CLV)                               6.1
                                                        - Peak value                                        12.0
                                                          (30-min. during 8-h shift)

                                    USSR                Maximum allowable concentration (MAC)
                                                        - Ceiling value (vapour) (CLV)                      0.5             1989

                                    Yugoslavia          Maximum allowable concentration (MAC)
                                                        - Time-weighted average (TWA)                       1.0             1985r

                                    USA (ACGIH)         Recommended threshold limit value (TLV)
                                                        - Time-weighted average (TWA)                       0.45
                                                          (Suspected human carcinogen)
                                                          (No short-term exposure limit - STEL)

    AIR         Ambient             USSR                Maximum allowable concentration (MAC)               0.035           1984
                                                          (once/day)
                                                                                                            0.003
                                                          daily average)

              

    *Notice of Intended Change, 1989-90

                                                                                                                                         

    Medium      Specification       Country/            Exposure limit description                          Value           Effective
                                    organization                                                            (mg/m3)         datea
                                                                                                                                         

    SURFACE     Environmental       USSR                Maximum allowable concentration (MAC)               0.05 mg/litre   1985
    WATER

    SURFACE     Environmental       USSR                Maximum allowable concentration (MAC)               0.25 mg/litre   1982r
    WATER
    FOR 
    FISHING

    SOIL        Environmental       USSR                Maximum allowable concentration (MAC)               7.0 mg/kg       1980

                                                                                                                                         

    a r = year of last IRPTC update.
    


    BIBLIOGRAPHY

    ACGIH (1986)  Documentation of the threshold limit values and
     biological exposure indices. Cincinnati, American Conference of
    Governmental Industrial Hygienists.

    ACGIH (1989)  Threshold limit values and biological exposure indices
     for 1989-1990. Cincinnati, American Conference of Governmental
    Industrial Hygienists.

    CLAYTON, G.D. & CLAYTON, F.E. (1981)  Patty's industrial hygiene and
     toxicology. Vol. 2C.  New York, Wiley-Interscience, John Wiley &
    Sons.

    GOSSELIN, R.E., HODGE, H.C., SMITH R.P., & GLEASON, M.N. (1976)
     Clinical toxicology of commercial products. 4th ed. Baltimore,
    Maryland, The Williams and Wilkins Company.

    DUTCH SAFETY INSTITUTE (1989)   Handling chemicals safely. 2nd ed.
    Amsterdam, The Netherlands, Dutch Association of Safety Experts, Dutch
    Chemical Industry Association, Dutch Safety Institute.

    IRPTC (1988)  Data profile (legal file). Geneva, International
    Register of Potentially Toxic Chemicals.

    SAX, N.I. (1984)  Dangerous properties of industrial materials.  New
    York, Van Nostrand Reinhold Company.

    US NIOSH (1976)  A guide to industrial respiratory protection. 
    Cincinnati, Ohio, US National Institute for Occupational Safety and
    Health.

    US NIOSH/OSHA (1981)  Occupational health guidelines for chemical
     hazards. 3 Vol. Washington, DC, US Department of Health and Human
    Services, US Department of Labor (Publication No. DHHS(NIOSH) 01-123).

    US NIOSH/OSHA (1985)  Pocket guide to chemical hazards. Washington
    DC, US National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health,
    Occupational Safety and Heath Administration (Publication No. 85.114).

    WHO (1989)  Environmental Health Criteria 89:  Formaldehyde. Geneva,
    World Health Organization.

    


    See Also:
       Toxicological Abbreviations
       Formaldehyde (EHC 89, 1989)
       Formaldehyde (ICSC)
       Formaldehyde  (SIDS)
       Formaldehyde (CICADS 40, 2002)
       Formaldehyde (IARC Summary & Evaluation, Volume 62, 1995)
       Formaldehyde (IARC Summary & Evaluation, Volume 88, 2006)