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Formaldehyde and Urea-Based Preservatives

Formaldehyde is a colorless, flammable, strong-smelling chemical that is used in building materials and to produce many household products. Formaldehyde sources in the home include pressed-wood products, cigarette smoke, and fuel-burning appliances. When exposed to formaldehyde, some individuals may experience various short-term effects. Formaldehyde has been classified as a known human carcinogen (cancer-causing substance) by the International Agency for Research on Cancer and as a probable human carcinogen by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Research studies of workers exposed to formaldehyde have suggested an association between formaldehyde exposure and several cancers, including nasopharyngeal cancer and leukemia.


National Cancer Institute. (2011, June). Formaldehyde and Cancer Risk. National Cancer Institute. Retrieved from

Tox Town. (2012, March). Formaldehyde. U.S. National Library of Medicine. Retrieved from