Symptoms of Formaldehyde Exposure To Look Out For

Symptoms of Formaldehyde Exposure To Look Out For

Formaldehyde is a colorless gas that fights bacteria and acts as a preservative. It also has a distinctive odor that resembles vinegar or pickles. While commonly known for its use in embalming fluid, you can also find it in manufacturing and laboratory settings.

Since formaldehyde is also a common additive in furniture, clothing, cosmetics, and medicine, you’ll likely encounter very small doses of it in your daily life. That said, overexposure to formaldehyde poses some health risks, ranging from uncomfortable to serious. Here are the symptoms of formaldehyde exposure to look out for so that you can protect your health.

Key Symptoms of Formaldehyde Exposure

While some people may be particularly sensitive to formaldehyde, anyone can experience these symptoms if they encounter elevated levels.

Irritation in Eyes, Nose, and Throat

Exposure to formaldehyde gas can cause burning, red, or watery eyes, as well as a runny nose or a scratchy throat.

Headache or Fatigue

If you regularly work with formaldehyde, you might build up a tolerance to the smell. In that case, your only symptom of exposure could be a headache or fatigue.

Coughing or Breathing Difficulties

Because formaldehyde is a gas, you might develop a cough or have trouble breathing. This is especially a risk if you have asthma or other lung conditions.

Skin Rash

If your skin comes in contact with formaldehyde, you could experience itching, redness, or hives in more severe cases.

Ventilating the room or facility with fresh air can help you manage some of these symptoms.

Who’s at Risk of Formaldehyde Overexposure?

Because so many items in our daily lives contain formaldehyde, exposure is a risk for everyone. That said, people who work in manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, or other industrial settings have a higher risk. In extreme cases, exposure can even lead to throat cancer.

Plus, the more time you spend around formaldehyde, the more likely you are to become desensitized to the smell. That’s why thinking that you can rely only on your sense of smell is one of the myths about formaldehyde gas monitoring.

While understanding the symptoms of formaldehyde exposure to look out for is one way to protect your health, prevention is the other part of the equation. Pay attention to your health and your surroundings to stay safe from formaldehyde.