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3 - Flammable liquid 8 - Corrosive
Chemical Identifiers | Hazards | Response Recommendations | Physical Properties | Regulatory Information | Alternate Chemical Names

Chemical Identifiers

The Chemical Identifier fields include common identification numbers, the NFPA diamond, U.S. Department of Transportation hazard labels, and a general description of the chemical. The information in CAMEO Chemicals comes from a variety of data sources..
CAS Number UN/NA Number DOT Hazard Label USCG CHRIS Code
  • 50-00-0
  • Flammable Liquid
  • Corrosive
NFPA 704
Diamond Hazard Value Description
3 0
Blue Health 3 Can cause serious or permanent injury.
Red Flammability 4 Burns readily. Rapidly or completely vaporizes at atmospheric pressure and normal ambient temperature.
Yellow Instability 0 Normally stable, even under fire conditions.
White Special
(NFPA, 2010)
NIOSH Pocket Guide International Chem Safety Card
Formalin (as formaldehyde)external link
General Description
A colorless aqueous solution of formaldehyde, which is a gas at ordinary conditions. Has a pungent irritating odor. Flash point varies from 122 to 141°F. Denser than water. The vapors are heavier than air and are highly irritating to the nose. Toxic if swallowed. Contact can cause severe injury to the skin accompanied by drying, cracking, and scaling. Used to make plastics, other chemicals, and fertilizers. Used as a preservative and a corrosion inhibitor.

Rate of onset: Immediate

Persistence: Hours

Odor threshold: 1 ppm

Source/use/other hazard: Disinfection/germicide; fungicide; textile; health care (tissue fixing).


The Hazard fields include special hazard alerts, air and water reactions, fire hazards, health hazards, a reactivity profile, and details about reactive groups assignments and potentially incompatible absorbents. The information in CAMEO Chemicals comes from a variety of data sources.
Reactivity Alerts
Air & Water Reactions
The solution gives up formaldehyde vapors readily. These vapors are flammable over a wide vapor-air concentration range. Water soluble.
Fire Hazard
Toxic vapors such as carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide are generated during combustion. Explosion hazard: when aqueous formaldehyde solutions are heated above their flash points, a potential for explosion hazard exists. High formaldehyde concentration or methanol content lowers flash point. Reacts with nitrogen oxides at about 180; the reaction becomes explosive. Also reacts violently with perchloric acid-aniline, performic acid, nitromethane, magnesium carbonate, and hydrogen peroxide. When heated, irritant formaldehyde gas evolved from solution. The main products of decomposition are carbon monoxide and hydrogen. Metals such as platinum, copper, chromia, and alumina also catalyze the formation of methanol, methylformate, formic acid, carbon dioxide, and methane. Reacts with peroxide, nitrogen oxide, and performic acid causing explosions. Can react with hydrogen chloride or other inorganic chlorides to form bis-chloromethylether (BCME), a known carcinogen. Very reactive, combines readily with many substances, 40% solution is powerful reducing agent. Incompatible with amines, azo compounds, dithiocarbamates, alkali and alkaline earth metals, nitrides, nitro compounds, unsaturated aliphatics and sulfides, organic peroxides, oxidizing agents, and reducing agents. Aqueous solutions are unstable. Commercial formaldehyde-alcohol solutions are stable. Gas is stable in absence of water. Avoid oxidizing and alkaline materials. Hazardous polymerization may occur. Compound will polymerize with active organic materials such as phenol. Will polymerize violently in the presence of caustics and nitrides; (amines) exothermic reaction, (Azo compound) exothermic reaction giving off nitrogen gas, (caustics) heat generation and violent polymerization, (dithiocarbamates) formation of flammable gases and toxic fumes, formation of carbon disulfide may result, (alkali and alkaline earth metals) heat generation and formation of a flammable hydrogen gas. (EPA, 1998)
Health Hazard
The probable oral lethal dose for humans is 0.5-5 g/kg, or between 1 ounce and 1 pint for a 150 pound person. Acute -- below 1 ppm, odor perceptible to most. 2-3 ppm, mild tingling of eyes. 4-5 ppm, increased discomfort, mild lacrimation. 10 ppm, profuse lacrimation; can be withstood only for few minutes. 10-20 ppm, breathing difficult, cough, severe burning of nose and throat. 50-100 ppm, acute irritation of respiratory tract, very serious injury likely. Skin -- primary irritation from strong solutions, gas. Delayed -- sensitization dermatitis. Suspected carcinogen. Effects in women include menstrual disorders and secondary sterility. Solutions splashed in eyes have caused injuries ranging from severe, permanent corneal opacification and loss of vision to minor discomfort. In people sensitized to formaldehyde, late asthmatic reactions may be provoked by brief exposures at approximately 3 ppm. (EPA, 1998)
Reactivity Profile
FORMALDEHYDE, SOLUTION, reacts violently with strong oxidizing agents (hydrogen peroxide, performic acid, perchloric acid in the presence of aniline, potassium permanganate, nitromethane). Reacts with bases (sodium hydroxide, potassium hydroxide, ammonia), and with nitrogen dioxide (explosive reaction around 180°C). Reacts with hydrochloric acid to form highly toxic bis(chloromethyl) ether. Polymerization reaction with phenol may develop sudden destructive pressure [Bretherick, 5th ed., 1995, p.168].
Belongs to the Following Reactive Group(s)
Potentially Incompatible Absorbents

Use caution: Liquids with this reactive group classification have been known to react with the absorbent listed below. More info about absorbents, including situations to watch out for...

Response Recommendations

The Response Recommendation fields include isolation and evacuation distances, as well as recommendations for firefighting, non-fire response, protective clothing, and first aid. The information in CAMEO Chemicals comes from a variety of data sources.
Isolation and Evacuation
Excerpt from ERG Guide 132 [Flammable Liquids - Corrosive]:

As an immediate precautionary measure, isolate spill or leak area for at least 50 meters (150 feet) in all directions.

SPILL: Increase, in the downwind direction, as necessary, the isolation distance shown above.

FIRE: If tank, rail car or tank truck is involved in a fire, ISOLATE for 800 meters (1/2 mile) in all directions; also, consider initial evacuation for 800 meters (1/2 mile) in all directions. (ERG, 2016)
Keep unnecessary people away; stay upwind; keep out of low areas. Isolate for 1/2 mile in all directions if tank car or truck is involved in fire.

Wear self-contained breathing apparatus; wear goggles if eye protection not provided. Shut off flow of gas or liquid and keep cooling water streams on exposed tanks or containers. Use water spray carefully in vicinity of dusts so as not to create dust clouds.

Small fires: dry chemical, carbon dioxide, water spray or foam. Large fires: water spray, fog or foam. Move container from fire area if you can do so without risk. Do not get water inside container. Spray cooling water on containers exposed to flames until well after fire is out. Withdraw immediately in case of rising sound from venting safety device or any discoloration of tank due to fire. (EPA, 1998)
Non-Fire Response
Excerpt from ERG Guide 132 [Flammable Liquids - Corrosive]:

Fully encapsulating, vapor-protective clothing should be worn for spills and leaks with no fire. ELIMINATE all ignition sources (no smoking, flares, sparks or flames in immediate area). All equipment used when handling the product must be grounded. Do not touch or walk through spilled material. Stop leak if you can do it without risk. Prevent entry into waterways, sewers, basements or confined areas. A vapor-suppressing foam may be used to reduce vapors. Absorb with earth, sand or other non-combustible material and transfer to containers (except for Hydrazine). Use clean, non-sparking tools to collect absorbed material.

LARGE SPILL: Dike far ahead of liquid spill for later disposal. Water spray may reduce vapor, but may not prevent ignition in closed spaces. (ERG, 2016)
Protective Clothing
Skin: Wear appropriate personal protective clothing to prevent skin contact.

Eyes: Wear appropriate eye protection to prevent eye contact.

Wash skin: The worker should immediately wash the skin when it becomes contaminated.

Remove: Work clothing that becomes wet or significantly contaminated should be removed and replaced.

Change: No recommendation is made specifying the need for the worker to change clothing after the work shift.

Provide: Eyewash fountains should be provided in areas where there is any possibility that workers could be exposed to the substance; this is irrespective of the recommendation involving the wearing of eye protection. Facilities for quickly drenching the body should be provided within the immediate work area for emergency use where there is a possibility of exposure. [Note: It is intended that these facilities provide a sufficient quantity or flow of water to quickly remove the substance from any body areas likely to be exposed. The actual determination of what constitutes an adequate quick drench facility depends on the specific circumstances. In certain instances, a deluge shower should be readily available, whereas in others, the availability of water from a sink or hose could be considered adequate.] (NIOSH, 2016)
DuPont Tychem® Suit Fabrics
Tychem® Fabric Legend
QC = Tychem QC
SL = Tychem SL
TF = Tychem F
TP = Tychem ThermoPro
C3 = Tychem CPF 3
BR = Tychem BR
RC = Tychem Responder® CSM
TK = Tychem TK
RF = Tychem Reflector®
Testing Details
Permeation data obtained per ASTM F739. Normalized breakthrough times (the time at which the permeation rate is equal to 0.1 µg/cm2/min) reported in minutes. All liquid chemicals have been tested between approximately 20°C and 27°C unless otherwise stated. All chemicals have been tested at a concentration of greater than 95% unless otherwise stated. Chemical warfare agents (Lewisite, Sarin, Soman, Sulfur Mustard, Tabun and VX Nerve Agent) have been tested at 22°C and 50% relative humidity per military standard MIL-STD-282.
Normalized Breakthrough Times (in Minutes)
Chemical CAS Number State QC SL TF TP C3 BR RC TK RF
Formaldehyde (100 ppm) 50-00-0 Vapor >480 >480 >480 >480
> indicates greater than.
A blank cell indicates the fabric has not been tested. The fabric may or may not offer barrier.

Special Warnings from DuPont

  1. Serged and bound seams are degraded by some hazardous liquid chemicals, such as strong acids, and should not be worn when these chemicals are present.
  2. CAUTION: This information is based upon technical data that DuPont believes to be reliable. It is subject to revision as additional knowledge and experience are gained. DuPont makes no guarantee of results and assumes no obligation or liability...
    ... in connection with this information. It is the user's responsibility to determine the level of toxicity and the proper personal protective equipment needed. The information set forth herein reflects laboratory performance of fabrics, not complete garments, under controlled conditions. It is intended for informational use by persons having technical skill for evaluation under their specific end-use conditions, at their own discretion and risk. Anyone intending to use this information should first verify that the garment selected is suitable for the intended use. In many cases, seams and closures have shorter breakthrough times and higher permeation rates than the fabric. Please contact DuPont for specific data. If fabric becomes torn, abraded or punctured, or if seams or closures fail, or if attached gloves, visors, etc. are damaged, end user should discontinue use of garment to avoid potential exposure to chemical. Since conditions of use are outside our control, we make no warranties, express or implied, including, without limitation, no warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular use and assume no liability in connection with any use of this information. This information is not intended as a license to operate under or a recommendation to infringe any patent or technical information of DuPont or others covering any material or its use.

(DuPont, 2016)

First Aid
Signs and Symptoms of Acute Formaldehyde Exposure: Acute exposure to formaldehyde may result in irritation or burns to the skin, eyes, and mucous membranes; lacrimation (tearing); nausea; vomiting (may be bloody); abdominal pain; and diarrhea. Difficulty in breathing, cough, pneumonia, and pulmonary edema may occur. Sensitized people may experience asthmatic reactions, even when exposed briefly. Hypotension (low blood pressure) and hypothermia (reduced body temperature) may precede cardiovascular collapse. Lethargy, dizziness, convulsions, and coma may be noted. Nephritis (inflammation of the kidneys), hematuria (bloody urine), and liver toxicity have been reported.

Emergency Life-Support Procedures: Acute exposure to formaldehyde may require decontamination and life support for the victims. Emergency personnel should wear protective clothing appropriate to the type and degree of contamination. Air-purifying or supplied-air respiratory equipment should also be worn, as necessary. Rescue vehicles should carry supplies such as plastic sheeting and disposable plastic bags to assist in preventing spread of contamination.

Inhalation Exposure:
1. Move victims to fresh air. Emergency personnel should avoid self-exposure to formaldehyde.
2. Evaluate vital signs including pulse and respiratory rate, and note any trauma. If no pulse is detected, provide CPR. If not breathing, provide artificial respiration. If breathing is labored, administer oxygen or other respiratory support.
3. Obtain authorization and/or further instructions from the local hospital for administration of an antidote or performance of other invasive procedures.
4. Transport to a health care facility.

Dermal/Eye Exposure:
1. Remove victims from exposure. Emergency personnel should avoid self- exposure to formaldehyde.
2. Evaluate vital signs including pulse and respiratory rate, and note any trauma. If no pulse is detected, provide CPR. If not breathing, provide artificial respiration. If breathing is labored, administer oxygen or other respiratory support.
3. Remove contaminated clothing as soon as possible.
4. If eye exposure has occurred, eyes must be flushed with lukewarm water for at least 15 minutes.
5. Wash exposed skin areas twice with soap and water.
6. Obtain authorization and/or further instructions from the local hospital for administration of an antidote or performance of other invasive procedures.
7. Transport to a health care facility.

Ingestion Exposure:
1. Evaluate vital signs including pulse and respiratory rate, and note any trauma. If no pulse is detected, provide CPR. If not breathing, provide artificial respiration. If breathing is labored, administer oxygen or other respiratory support.
2. Obtain authorization and/or further instructions from the local hospital for administration of an antidote or performance of other invasive procedures.
3. Give the victims water or milk: children up to 1 year old, 125 mL (4 oz or 1/2 cup); children 1 to 12 years old, 200 mL (6 oz or 3/4 cup); adults, 250 mL (8 oz or 1 cup). Water or milk should be given only if victims are conscious and alert.
4. Vomiting may be induced with syrup of Ipecac. If elapsed time since ingestion of formaldehyde is unknown or suspected to be greater than 30 minutes, do not induce vomiting and proceed to Step
5.Ipecac should not be administered to children under 6 months of age.Warning: Ingestion of formaldehyde may result in sudden onset of seizures or loss of consciousness. Syrup of Ipecac should be administered only if victims are alert, have an active gag-reflex, and show no signs of impending seizure or coma. If ANY uncertainty exists, proceed to Step
5.The following dosages of Ipecac are recommended: children up to 1 year old, 10 mL (1/3 oz); children 1 to 12 years old, 15 mL (1/2 oz); adults, 30 mL (1 oz). Ambulate (walk) the victims and give large quantities of water. If vomiting has not occurred after 15 minutes, Ipecac may be readministered. Continue to ambulate and give water to the victims. If vomiting has not occurred within 15 minutes after second administration of Ipecac, administer activated charcoal.
5. Activated charcoal may be administered if victims are conscious and alert. Use 15 to 30 g (1/2 to 1 oz) for children, 50 to 100 g (1-3/4 to 3-1/2 oz) for adults, with 125 to 250 mL (1/2 to 1 cup) of water.
6. Promote excretion by administering a saline cathartic or sorbitol to conscious and alert victims. Children require 15 to 30 g (1/2 to 1 oz) of cathartic; 50 to 100 g (1-3/4 to 3-1/2 oz) is recommended for adults.
7. Transport to a health care facility. (EPA, 1998)

Physical Properties

The Physical Property fields include properties such as vapor pressure and boiling point, as well as explosive limits and toxic exposure thresholds. The information in CAMEO Chemicals comes from a variety of data sources.
Chemical Formula:
  • CH2O (aqueous)
Flash Point: 140 ° F 40% solution (EPA, 1998)
Lower Explosive Limit (LEL): 7 % (EPA, 1998)
Upper Explosive Limit (UEL): 73 % (EPA, 1998)
Autoignition Temperature: 806 ° F (USCG, 1999)
Melting Point: -134 ° F for anhydrous form (EPA, 1998)
Vapor Pressure: 10 mm Hg at -126.4 ° F for anhydrous form (EPA, 1998)
Vapor Density (Relative to Air): 1.067 to 1.075 for gas state (EPA, 1998)
Specific Gravity: 0.815 at -4 ° F anhydrous form (EPA, 1998)
Boiling Point: -3.1 ° F at 760 mm Hg commercial aqueous formaldehyde boils at 205° F (EPA, 1998)
Molecular Weight: 30.03 (EPA, 1998)
Water Solubility: Miscible (NIOSH, 2016)
Ionization Potential: data unavailable
IDLH: 20 ppm ; A potential occupational carcinogen. (NIOSH, 2016)

AEGLs (Acute Exposure Guideline Levels)

Interim AEGLs for Formaldehyde (50-00-0)
Exposure Period AEGL-1 AEGL-2 AEGL-3
10 minutes 0.9 ppm 14 ppm 100 ppm
30 minutes 0.9 ppm 14 ppm 70 ppm
60 minutes 0.9 ppm 14 ppm 56 ppm
4 hours 0.9 ppm 14 ppm 35 ppm
8 hours 0.9 ppm 14 ppm 35 ppm
(NAC/NRC, 2016)

ERPGs (Emergency Response Planning Guidelines)

Chemical ERPG-1 ERPG-2 ERPG-3
Formaldehyde (50-00-0) 1 ppm star-in-circle icon indicates that odor should be detectable near ERPG-1. 10 ppm 40 ppm
star-in-circle icon indicates that odor should be detectable near ERPG-1.
(AIHA, 2016)

PACs (Protective Action Criteria)

Chemical PAC-1 PAC-2 PAC-3
Formaldehyde (50-00-0) 0.9 ppm 14 ppm 56 ppm
(DOE, 2016)

Regulatory Information

The Regulatory Information fields include information from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Title III Consolidated List of Lists and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (see more about these data sources).

EPA Consolidated List of Lists

Regulatory Name CAS Number/
313 Category Code
CAA 112(r)
Formaldehyde 50-00-0 500 pounds 100 pounds 100 pounds 313 U122 15000 pounds
Formaldehyde (solution) 50-00-0 500 pounds 100 pounds 100 pounds X U122 15000 pounds

(EPA List of Lists, 2015)

DHS Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS)

Chemical of Interest CAS Number Min Conc STQ Security
Min Conc STQ Security
Min Conc STQ Security
Formaldehyde (solution) 50-00-0 1.00 % 15000 pounds toxic

(DHS, 2007)

Alternate Chemical Names

This section provides a listing of alternate names for this chemical, including trade names and synonyms.