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The structure of a formaldehyde molecule

Formaldehyde (or Methanal) is a chemical compound.

It is a colorless gas with a bad smell. It is flammable and toxic.[1]

It is the simplest aldehyde. Its main application is as a disinfectant. It is a biocide, this means it can kill most bacteria and fungi. It is also used to make dyes, to make textiles wrinkle-free,preservatives, explosives, and certain polymers. About 23 million tonnes (50 billion pounds) of formaldehyde was made worldwide in 2005.[2]


  1. "Formaldehyde", Formaldehyde, 2-Butoxyethanol and 1-tert-Butoxypropan-2-ol, IARC Monographs on the Evaluation of Carcinogenic Risks to Humans 88, Lyon, France: International Agency for Research on Cancer, 2006, pp. 39–325, ISBN 92-832-1288-6 ,
  2. Günther Reuss, Walter Disteldorf, Armin Otto Gamer, Albrecht Hilt “Formaldehyde” in Ullmann's Encyclopedia of Industrial Chemistry, 2002, Wiley-VCH, Weinheim. doi:10.1002/14356007.a11_619