Most people use formaldehyde daily and don’t realize it. Farmers utilize this compound to control potato disease. If you have anything in your house made with a composite wood product, formaldehyde is in that as well. It’s also in dishwashing liquids.
Formalin is a substance prepared from formaldehyde. Let’s explore a bit more about formaldehyde and find out how formalin comes together.
What Is Formaldehyde?
Formaldehyde is a strong odored gas that is colorless and flammable at room temperature. Exposing yourself to formaldehyde could cause adverse health effects. This naturally occurring compound can polymerize spontaneously into paraformaldehyde.
Where Can You Find Formaldehyde?
You can commonly find formaldehyde in many different products, including:
- Pesticides and fertilizers
- Household items such as finishes and lacquers, paper products, glues, coatings and paints, and permanent press fabrics
- Building materials
- Resins used to manufacture composite wood products
- The preservatives used in some cosmetic products, medicines, and other consumer items like fabric softeners and dishwashing liquids
Formaldehyde is also a result of other natural products and combustion. You can find it in cigarette smoke and unvented fuel-burning machines such as gas stoves and kerosene space heaters that emit formaldehyde.
Formaldehyde Health Risks
High levels of formaldehyde exposure can lead to some types of cancer. Low levels of exposure can lead to irritation of the throat, eyes, and nose. You’ll end up with a bad cough or may feel like you’re choking if you expose yourself to prolonged exposure to formaldehyde.
Direct contact with the eyes, skin, or gastrointestinal tract can lead to serious burns. You could die from severe exposure to the chemical compound. Your throat could swell shut, and your lungs can suffer severe burns.
The more serious the formaldehyde exposure, the more serious the symptoms. Always wear the proper personal protective equipment when handling formaldehyde in a manufacturing environment. Cover your face with eye goggles or a face shield if goggles aren’t available. Wear protective clothing to keep your skin from coming into direct contact with the substance. Experts recommend wearing gloves, boots, and aprons when handling this material.
Formaldehyde and Formalin
To turn formaldehyde into formalin, an expert saturates the formaldehyde in water (40 percent by volume, 37 percent by weight) to create a solution. At concentrations higher than 37% up to 52% the formalin must be under heat and agitation to keep the formaldehyde dissolved in solution. That’s how you prepare formalin from formaldehyde. People use formalin as a preservative for biological specimens and as a disinfectant.
Capital Resin is a formaldehyde producer for the commercial market. This substance has received a bad rap, but using and handling it correctly can make it a cost-effective material that you can use in many applications.