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Many products are made from or contain formaldehyde, including resins and adhesives, permanent press fabric treatments, tissue preservatives, lawn fertilizers, cosmetics and disinfectants. Formaldehyde has been linked to cancer in humans and may cause adverse reproductive outcomes.

Off-gassed from construction products and released by manufacturing facilities and combustion sources, formaldehyde is almost ubiquitous at low levels in both indoor and outdoor air. It is often targeted as a cause of health complaints associated with “sick building syndrome,” such as respiratory irritation and headaches.

Formaldehyde is designated as a Higher Hazard Substance under TURA, which lowers the reporting threshold to 1,000 lb/year, effective January 2012.

Information about Formaldehyde prepared by the TURA Program

Content Category Publication Type Title Year Description
Overview Fact Sheet Formaldehyde Fact Sheet 2013 TURI Chemical Fact Sheets describe the hazards, exposure routes, uses and alternatives, and regulatory context for selected chemicals.
Policy Policy Analysis Formaldehyde Policy Analysis 2011 TURA Policy Analyses are developed as background for state-level decision-making about individual chemicals, chemical classes, and industry sectors.
Alternatives Assessment Research Report Alternative Formaldehyde-Free Particleboard Compositions Based on Epoxidized Vegetable Oils 2009 An investigation of vegetable oil based binders for particleboard manufacture. The research provided valuable insight into the performance of these alternatives to the traditional formaldehyde-based binders used in construction materials.
Alternatives Assessment Methods and Policy Report Five Chemicals Alternatives Assessment Study 2006 Methods and Policy Reports provide information on methodologies and policy approaches for toxics use reduction. They include TURA program evaluations; analyses of the TURA data; chemical alternatives assessments; decision-making guidance; and studies of the public health implications of toxics use reduction.
Alternatives Assessment Technical Report Formaldehyde Use Reduction in Mortuaries 1994 Embalmers are exposed to formaldehyde and its polymers during the course of their work. The options for toxics use reduction (TUR) of formaldehyde in funeral services should include modification of societal behavior, changes in state legislation to allow the elimination of unnecessary embalming, and the use of embalming fluids with lower concentrations of formaldehyde.


Information from other resources

Source Title Year Description
EPA Overview Updated 2016 Links to facts about formaldehyde, emission standards, laws and regulations, and exposure protections.
OSHA Hair Salons: Facts about Formaldehyde in Hair Products   This webpage highlights information and data that OSHA has on formaldehyde in hair smoothing products; other products used in the salon may also contain or release formaldehyde. The information on this webpage applies to all salon products that contain or may release formaldehyde.
US Consumer Products Safety Commission An Update on Formaldehyde 2013 This booklet describes what formaldehyde is, what products it may be found in, where you may come in contact with it, how exposure to formaldehyde may affect your health, and how you might reduce your exposure to it.
California EPA Air Resources Board Formaldehyde Fact Page Updated 2015 Facts, regulations, information about formaldehyde in schools and day care centers.
California Department of Public Health Fact Sheet Revised 2011 Occupational health overview of formaldehyde.
Minnesota Department of Public Health Formaldehyde in Your Home   Overview of home products that may contain formaldehyde and how to reduce exposure.
New Jersey Department of Public Health Hazardous Substance Fact Sheet Revised 2010 Overview of formaldehyde, including information on spills, emergencies, and first aid.
Washington State Department of Health Healthy Home Series   Exposures, health effects, and protections against formaldehyde.