Q: What is formaldehyde and what are its effects?

A: Formaldehyde is a very commonplace chemical and is a normal part of our environment. Outdoor air levels of formaldehyde is usually between 0.01 and 0.05 parts per million. Formaldehyde is found primarily in building materials such as particle board, paneling and insulation. It is a volatile organic compound, which means that it becomes a gas at room temperature. The formaldehyde gas is what can cause health problems in some people.

Effects of formaldehyde exposure include eye, nose and throat irritation, coughing. headaches, dizziness and nausea. There is little evidence that long-term health problems or cancer can result from working with formaldehyde. Long-term exposure has caused cancer in laboratory animals.

People who are sensitive to formaldehyde should avoid products that contain it.

Find more real estate Q & A’s in the Desktop Reference Guide!

The Minnesota Association of REALTORS® is the largest professional trade association in the state with more than 17,000 members who are active in all aspects of the real estate industry.  

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