Top Environmental Fate Ecotoxicology Human Health Translations
Home
A to Z: All
A to Z: Insecticides
A to Z: Herbicides
A to Z: Fungicides
A to Z: Other product constituents
Search
Support information
Purchasing and licensing
Formaldehyde
Last updated: 01/02/2021
(Also known as: formalin; methanal; methyl aldehyde; methylene oxide; paraformaldehyde)

SUMMARY
Data alerts

The following alerts are based on the data in the tables below. An absence of an alert does not imply the substance has no implications for human health, biodiversity or the environment but just that we do not have the data to form a judgement.

Environmental fate Ecotoxicity Human health
Environmental fate
High alert:
Drainflow: Mobile
Ecotoxicity
Moderate alert:
Fish acute ecotoxicity: Moderate; Daphnia acute ecotoxicity: Moderate
Human health
High alert:
Carcinogen
GENERAL INFORMATION
Description
Used as a disinfectant for soil, equipment, yards etc. Also used as an animal husbandry fungicide. Can also be a pesticide transformation product
Example pests controlled
Most bacteria and fungi
Example applications
Non-cropped areas; Growing media; Equipment; Flower tubers & bulbs
Efficacy & activity
-
Availability status
Current
Introduction & key dates
1888
UK regulatory status
UK COPR regulatory status
Not approved
Date COPR inclusion expires
Expired
UK LERAP status
Not applicable
EC Regulation 1107/2009 (repealing 91/414)
EC Regulation 1107/2009 status
Not approved
Dossier rapporteur/co-rapporteur
-
Date EC 1107/2009 inclusion expires
Expired
EU Candidate for substitution (CfS)
-
Listed in EU database
Yes
Approved for use (✓) under EC 1107/2009 in the following EU Member States
ATAustria
BEBelgium
BGBulgaria
CYCyprus
CZCzech Republic
DEGermany
DKDenmark
EEEstonia
ELGreece
                 
ESSpain
FIFinland
FRFrance
HRCroatia
HUHungary
IEIreland
ITItaly
LTLithuania
LULuxembourg
                 
LVLatvia
MTMalta
NLNetherlands
PLPoland
PTPortugal
RORomania
SESweden
SISlovenia
SKSlovakia
                 
Additional information
Also used in
USA
Chemical structure
Isomerism
None
Chemical formula
CH₂O
Canonical SMILES
C=O
Isomeric SMILES
No data
International Chemical Identifier key (InChIKey)
WSFSSNUMVMOOMR-UHFFFAOYSA-N
International Chemical Identifier (InChI)
InChI=1S/CH2O/c1-2/h1H2
2D structure diagram/image available?
Yes
Cambridge Crystallographic Data Centre diagrams
Common Name Relationship Link
formaldehyde -
General status
Pesticide type
Fungicide, Bactericide, Metabolite, Other substance
Metabolite Type
Soil, Water
Other constituent type
Inert solvent
Substance group
Unclassified
Minimum active substance purity
-
Known relevant impurities
-
Substance origin
Synthetic
Mode of action
Acts by protein denaturation
CAS RN
50-00-0
EC number
200-001-8
CIPAC number
156
US EPA chemical code
043001
PubChem CID
712
Molecular mass
30.03
PIN (Preferred Identification Name)
-
IUPAC name
formaldehyde
CAS name
formaldehyde
Other status information
Listed on USA Toxic Release Inventory; Registered as a UK Commodity Substance
Relevant Environmental Water Quality Standards
UK Environment Agency non-statutory standard for the protection of aquatic life in fresh surface water: 5 µg l⁻¹ as annual average, 50 µg l⁻¹ as max acceptable conc.
Herbicide Resistance Classification (HRAC)
Not applicable
Herbicide Resistance Classification (WSSA)
Not applicable
Insecticide Resistance Classification (IRAC)
Not applicable
Fungicide Resistance Classification (FRAC)
Not applicable
Examples of recorded resistance
-
Physical state
Gas
Can be a metabolite of:
Parent
Formation medium
Estimated maximum occurrence fraction
1107/2009 relevancy
bronopol Soil - Not relevant
trioxymethylene Acid media - Major fraction; Relevant
dazomet Soil 0.205 Major fraction, Relevant
Formulations
Property
Value
Example manufacturers & suppliers of products using this active now or historically
-
Example products using this active
  • Formalin Fungicide
Formulation and application details
Often used as a dip, drench or spray treatment. May also be used as a fumigant to sterilise animal houses.
ENVIRONMENTAL FATE
Property
Value
Source; quality score; and other information
Interpretation
Solubility - In water at 20 °C (mg l⁻¹)
550000
C4 C = AGRITOX (click here )
4 = Verified data
High
Solubility - In organic solvents at 20 °C (mg l⁻¹)
Miscible
C4 C = AGRITOX (click here )
4 = Verified data
Acetone
-
Melting point (°C)
-92
B5 B = UK CRD and ACP evaluation documents / and other Defra (UK) documents (click here )
5 = Verified data used for regulatory purposes
-
Boiling point (°C)
-19.2
B5 B = UK CRD and ACP evaluation documents / and other Defra (UK) documents (click here )
5 = Verified data used for regulatory purposes
-
Degradation point (°C)
- - -
Flashpoint (°C)
50
V3 V = ChemID online databases / IPCS INCHEM (ChemID; IPCS INCHEM )
3 = Unverified data of known source
-
Octanol-water partition coefficient at pH 7, 20 °C
P
2.24 X 1000 Calculated -
Log P
0.35
V3 V = ChemID online databases / IPCS INCHEM (ChemID; IPCS INCHEM )
3 = Unverified data of known source
Low
Bulk density (g ml⁻¹)
0.82
L3 L = Pesticide manuals and hard copy reference books / other sources
3 = Unverified data of known source
-
Dissociation constant pKa) at 25 °C
13.27
V3 V = ChemID online databases / IPCS INCHEM (ChemID; IPCS INCHEM )
3 = Unverified data of known source
-
Strong base
Vapour pressure at 20 °C (mPa)
53300000
C4 C = AGRITOX (click here )
4 = Verified data
Highly volatile
Henry's law constant at 25 °C (Pa m³ mol⁻¹)
3.41 X 10-02
V3 V = ChemID online databases / IPCS INCHEM (ChemID; IPCS INCHEM )
3 = Unverified data of known source
Non-volatile
Maximum UV-vis absorption L mol⁻¹ cm⁻¹
- - -
Surface tension (mN m⁻¹)
- - -
Degradation
Property
Value
Source; quality score; and other information
Interpretation
General biodegradability
-
Soil degradation (days) (aerobic)
DT₅₀ (typical)
6
Q2 Q = Miscellaneous internet resources
2 = Unverified data of unknown source
Non-persistent
DT₅₀ (lab at 20 °C)
1.9
A5 A = EU regulatory and evaluation data as published by EC, EFSA (RAR, DAR & Conclusion dossiers), EMA (e.g. EU Annex III PIC DGD) (EU - Pesticides database; EFSA Scientific Publications )
5 = Verified data used for regulatory purposes
Non-persistent
DT₅₀ (field)
- - -
DT₉₀ (lab at 20 °C)
- - -
DT₉₀ (field)
- - -
DT₅₀ modelling endpoint
- - -
Note
Other sources: DT₅₀ 2-20 days
Dissipation rate RL₅₀ on plant matrix
Value
- - -
Note
-
Dissipation rate RL₅₀ on and in plant matrix
Value
- - -
Note
-
Aqueous photolysis DT₅₀ (days) at pH 7
Value
- - -
Note
-
Aqueous hydrolysis DT₅₀ (days) at 20 °C and pH 7
Value
Stable
P2 P = Other governments and regulators
2 = Unverified data of unknown source
Stable
Note
-
Water-sediment DT₅₀ (days)
- - -
Water phase only DT₅₀ (days)
- - -
Soil adsorption and mobility
Property
Value
Source; quality score; and other information
Interpretation
Linear
Kd
-
A3 A = EU regulatory and evaluation data as published by EC, EFSA (RAR, DAR & Conclusion dossiers), EMA (e.g. EU Annex III PIC DGD) (EU - Pesticides database; EFSA Scientific Publications )
3 = Unverified data of known source
Mobile
Koc
37
Notes and range
Other sources: DT₅₀ 2-20 days
Freundlich
Kf
- - -
Kfoc
-
1/n
-
Notes and range
-
pH sensitivity
-
Fate indices
Property
Value
Source; quality score; and other information
Interpretation
GUS leaching potential index
0.68 Calculated Low leachability
SCI-GROW groundwater index (μg l⁻¹) for a 1 kg ha⁻¹ or 1 l ha⁻¹ application rate
Value
1.64 X 10-03 Calculated -
Note
-
Potential for particle bound transport index
Low Calculated -
Potential for loss via drain flow
Mobile Calculated -
ECOTOXICOLOGY
Property
Value
Source; quality score; and other information
Interpretation
Bio-concentration factor
BCF (l kg⁻¹)
0.2
Q2 Q = Miscellaneous internet resources
2 = Unverified data of unknown source
Low potential
CT₅₀ (days)
Not available -
Mammals - Acute oral LD₅₀ (mg kg⁻¹)
> 550
L3 L = Pesticide manuals and hard copy reference books / other sources
3 = Unverified data of known source
Rat
Moderate
Mammals - Short term dietary NOEL
(mg kg⁻¹)
-
Q2 Q = Miscellaneous internet resources
2 = Unverified data of unknown source
Unknown species
-
(ppm diet)
50 -
Mammals - Chronic 21d NOAEL (mg kg⁻¹ bw d⁻¹)
- - -
Birds - Acute LD₅₀ (mg kg⁻¹)
> 5000
F4 F = U.S. EPA ECOTOX database / U.S. EPA pesticide fate database / Miscellaneous WHO documents (US EPA Databases Related to Pesticide Risk Assessment )
4 = Verified data
Anas platyrhynchos
Low
Birds - Short term dietary (LC₅₀/LD₅₀)
- - -
Birds - Chronic 21d NOEL (mg kg⁻¹ bw d⁻¹)
- - -
Fish - Acute 96 hour LC₅₀ (mg l⁻¹)
> 1.84
A5 A = EU regulatory and evaluation data as published by EC, EFSA (RAR, DAR & Conclusion dossiers), EMA (e.g. EU Annex III PIC DGD) (EU - Pesticides database; EFSA Scientific Publications )
5 = Verified data used for regulatory purposes
Oncorhynchus mykiss
Moderate
Fish - Chronic 21 day NOEC (mg l⁻¹)
- - -
Aquatic invertebrates - Acute 48 hour EC₅₀ (mg l⁻¹)
> 0.43
A5 A = EU regulatory and evaluation data as published by EC, EFSA (RAR, DAR & Conclusion dossiers), EMA (e.g. EU Annex III PIC DGD) (EU - Pesticides database; EFSA Scientific Publications )
5 = Verified data used for regulatory purposes
Daphnia magna
Moderate
Aquatic invertebrates - Chronic 21 day NOEC (mg l⁻¹)
- - -
Aquatic crustaceans - Acute 96 hour LC₅₀ (mg l⁻¹)
- - -
Sediment dwelling organisms - Acute 96 hour LC₅₀ (mg l⁻¹)
- - -
Sediment dwelling organisms - Chronic 28 day NOEC, static, water (mg l⁻¹)
- - -
Sediment dwelling organisms - Chronic 28 day NOEC, sediment (mg kg⁻¹)
- - -
Aquatic plants - Acute 7 day EC₅₀, biomass (mg l⁻¹)
- - -
Non-target plants
- - -
- - -
Algae - Acute 72 hour EC₅₀, growth (mg l⁻¹)
> 0.88
A4 A = EU regulatory and evaluation data as published by EC, EFSA (RAR, DAR & Conclusion dossiers), EMA (e.g. EU Annex III PIC DGD) (EU - Pesticides database; EFSA Scientific Publications )
4 = Verified data
Unknown species
Moderate
Algae - Chronic 96 hour NOEC, growth (mg l⁻¹)
> 0.1
P4 P = Other governments and regulators
4 = Verified data
Phyllospora comosa
Moderate
Honeybees (Apis spp.)
Contact acute LD₅₀ (worst case from 24, 48 and 72 hour values - μg bee⁻¹)
- - -
Oral acute LD₅₀ (worst case from 24, 48 and 72 hour values - μg bee⁻¹)
- - -
Unknown mode acute LD₅₀ (worst case from 24, 48 and 72 hour values - μg bee⁻¹)
- - -
Bumblebees (Bombus spp.)
Contact acute LD₅₀ (worst case from 24, 48 and 72 hour values - μg bee⁻¹)
- - -
-
Oral acute LD₅₀ (worst case from 24, 48 and 72 hour values - μg bee⁻¹)
- - -
-
Mason bees (Osmia spp.)
Contact acute LD₅₀ (worst case from 24, 48 and 72 hour values - μg bee⁻¹)
- - -
Oral acute LD₅₀ (worst case from 24, 48 and 72 hour values - μg bee⁻¹)
- - -
Other pollinators (1)
Acute LD₅₀ (worst case from 24, 48 and 72 hour values - μg insect⁻¹)
- - -
Mode of exposure
-
Other pollinators (2)
Acute LD₅₀ (worst case from 24, 48 and 72 hour values - μg insect⁻¹)
- - -
Mode of exposure
-
Earthworms - Acute 14 day LC₅₀ (mg kg⁻¹)
- - -
Earthworms - Chronic NOEC, reproduction (mg kg⁻¹)
- - -
Other soil macro-organisms
Acute LC₅₀ (mg kg⁻¹)
- - -
Chronic NOEC (mg kg⁻¹)
- - -
Other arthropod (1)
LR₅₀ g ha⁻¹
- - -
% Effect
- - -
Other arthropod (2)
LR₅₀ g ha⁻¹
- - -
% Effect
- - -
Soil micro-organisms
- - -
Mesocosm study data
NOEAEC mg l⁻¹
- - -
NOEAEC mg l⁻¹
- - -
HUMAN HEALTH AND PROTECTION
General
Property
Value
Source; quality score; and other information
Interpretation
Threshold of Toxicological Concern (Cramer Class)
Low (class I) - -
Mammals - Acute oral LD₅₀ (mg kg⁻¹)
> 550
L3 L = Pesticide manuals and hard copy reference books / other sources
3 = Unverified data of known source
Rat
Moderate
Mammals - Dermal LD₅₀ (mg kg⁻¹ body weight)
270
B5 B = UK CRD and ACP evaluation documents / and other Defra (UK) documents (click here )
5 = Verified data used for regulatory purposes
Rabbit
-
Mammals - Inhalation LC₅₀ (mg l⁻¹)
> 0.6
B5 B = UK CRD and ACP evaluation documents / and other Defra (UK) documents (click here )
5 = Verified data used for regulatory purposes
Rat 4 hr
-
Other Mammal toxicity endpoints
- - -
ADI - Acceptable Daily Intake (mg kg⁻¹ bw day⁻¹)
- - -
ARfD - Acute Reference Dose (mg kg⁻¹ bw day⁻¹)
- - -
AAOEL - Acute Acceptable Operator Exposure Level (mg kg⁻¹ bw day⁻¹)
- - -
AOEL - Acceptable Operator Exposure Level - Systemic (mg kg⁻¹ bw day⁻¹)
- - -
Dermal penetration studies (%)
- - -
Dangerous Substances Directive 76/464
- - -
Exposure Routes
Public
Most probable exposure route is via inhalation
Occupational
Most probable exposure route is via inhalation - PPE/PPC essential
MRLs
European
EU MRL pesticide database 
Great Britain
GB MRL Register 
Notes
-
Drinking Water Standards
- - -
Drinking Water MAC (μg l⁻¹)
- - -
Health issues
Specific human health issues
Carcinogen
Genotoxic
Endocrine disruptor
Yes, known to cause a problem
A0 A = Chromosome aberration (EFSA database)
0 = No data
;
B0 B = DNA damage/repair (EFSA database)
0 = No data
;
C0 C = Gene mutation (EFSA database)
0 = No data
;
D0 D = Genome mutation (EFSA database)
0 = No data
;
E1 E = Unspecified genotoxicity type (miscellaneous data source)
1 = Positive
No data found
Reproduction / development effects Acetyl cholinesterase inhibitor Neurotoxicant
XNo, known not to cause a problem
XNo, known not to cause a problem
XNo, known not to cause a problem
Respiratory tract irritant Skin irritant Skin sensitiser
Yes, known to cause a problem
Yes, known to cause a problem
Yes, known to cause a problem
Eye irritant Phototoxicant  
Yes, known to cause a problem
No data found  
General human health issues
IARC group 1 carcinogen, UK HSE - carcinogen
Severe obstructive tracheobronchitis may result from inhalation causing throat spasms and a build up of fluid in the lungs, leading to death
May cause serious damage of the gastrointestinal tract
Handling issues
Property
Value and interpretation
General
Flammable gas
Reacts explosively with peroxides and performic acid
IMDG Tranport class 3
CLP classification 2013
Health: H301, H311, H314, H317, H331, H341, H350
EC Risk Classification
Carcinogen category 3: R40
T - Toxic: R23/24/25
Xn - Harmful: R43
H - Handling risks: R34
EC Safety Classification
S1/2, S26, S36/37/39, S45, S51
WHO Classification
FM (Fumigant, not classified)
UN Number
1198
Waste disposal & packaging
Packaging Group III (minor danger)
TRANSLATIONS
Language
Name
English
formaldehyde
French
formaldehyde
German
Formaldehyd
Danish
formaldehyd
Italian
formaldeide
Spanish
formaldehído
Greek
-
Polish
formaldehyd
Swedish
-
Hungarian
-
Dutch
formaldehyde

Record last updated: 01/02/2021
Contact: aeru@herts.ac.uk
Please cite as: Lewis, K.A., Tzilivakis, J., Warner, D. and Green, A. (2016) An international database for pesticide risk assessments and management. Human and Ecological Risk Assessment: An International Journal, 22(4), 1050-1064. DOI: 10.1080/10807039.2015.1133242