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Health Effects

Formaldehyde

Formaldehyde can make you feel sick if you breathe a lot of it. People can have symptoms such as:

  • sore throat
  • cough
  • scratchy eyes
  • nosebleeds

Scientists use the words “exposed” or “exposure” to talk about how people come in contact with a substance, such as formaldehyde. Some people are more sensitive than others, so an exposure that causes no problems for some people can make other people sick or uncomfortable. Some of these symptoms also happen with other upper respiratory illnesses, such as colds/flu and seasonal allergies, so if you have these symptoms we recommend that you see a doctor or another medical professional.

In general −

  • If you are more sensitive to formaldehyde and are exposed to more of it for a longer time, you are more likely to have symptoms.
  • If you are exposed to less formaldehyde for a shorter time, you are less likely to have symptoms, especially if you are not sensitive to formaldehyde.

Formaldehyde is known to cause cancer. The cancer of greatest concern is cancer of the nose and throat. Scientific research has not yet shown that a certain level of formaldehyde exposure causes cancer. However, the higher the level and the longer the exposure, the greater the chance of getting cancer. Exposure to formaldehyde might increase the chance of getting cancer even at levels too low to cause symptoms.

What You Should Know about Formaldehyde in Mobile Homes

Reports

Assessment of Health Complaints Among Children Living in FEMA Temporary Housing Units in Hancock County, Mississippi

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  • Page last reviewed: December 22, 2009
  • Page last updated: December 22, 2009
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