Quick Facts

Even simple creatures such as paramecium use formaldehyde.

  • Facts 1

    Before people walked the earth, formaldehyde was a source of food for simple life forms, such as bacteria. Many organisms use it for the carbon it contains. In the process, the simple molecule is broken down to simpler substances such as carbon dioxide. If formaldehyde is not being consumed by organisms that live in soil and water, sunlight breaks it down through a process known as photodegradation.

  • Facts 2

    Nearly everything in the plant and animal kingdoms makes formaldehyde at various levels through the complicated process of living. And what the complicated organisms produce, the simple creatures eat.

  • Facts 3

    The bottom line is that formaldehyde doesn't persist in the environment, so it doesn't accumulate in the human body or in the atmosphere.

  • Facts 4

    The chemical is an essential building block in the production of some of the most common consumer items, including paper towels, photographic film, shampoo, deodorant, toothpaste, lipstick and nail polish, and acts as an anti-bacterial agent in such consumer products as mascara.

  • Facts 5

    Without formaldehyde, many products that consumers use every day would not exist or not perform as well.

  • Facts 6

    Drugs taken in pill form are made more effective by formaldehyde, which is used to make hard pill coatings that dissolve slowly and deliver a more complete dosage.


  • Facts 7

    From the construction industry to the automotive, aerospace and health care industries -- products that are based on formaldehyde technologies have broad roles in the economy, supporting 920,000 jobs and $483 billion in sales in the United States.