The Discovery of Formaldehyde
Formaldehyde is a naturally occurring organic compound composed of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. It has
a simple chemical structure of CH2O. Formaldehyde was first reported in 1859 by Alexander Mikhailovich
Butlerov when he attempted to synthesize methylene glycol. However, formaldehyde wasn’t conclusively
identified until 1868, when August Wilhelm von Hofmann, a professor of chemistry and director of the laboratory
of the University of Berlin, set out to clearly establish both the structure and identity of formaldehyde. The
method that Hoffman used to identify formaldehyde laid the foundation for the modern formaldehyde
Alexander Butlerov August Wilhelm Von Hofmann
Formaldehyde is an organic compound
with the formula CH2O or HCHO. It is
the simplest aldehyde, hence its
systematic name methanal. The
common name of the substance
comes from its similarity and relation
to formic acid.
A gas at room temperature,
formaldehyde is colorless and has a
characteristic pungent, irritating
odor. It is an important precursor to
many other materials and chemical
compounds. In 2005, annual world
production of formaldehyde was
estimated to be 8.7 million tons.
Commercial solutions of formaldehyde
in water, commonly called formol,
were formerly used as disinfectants
and for preservation of biological
Formaldehyde & Body Preservation
Modern embalming now
consists primarily of
removing all blood and gases
from the body and the
insertion of a disinfecting
fluid. Small incisions are
made in either the carotid
or femoral artery and the
jugular or femoral vein; the
disinfecting fluid is injected
through the carotid or
femoral artery, and the
blood is drained from the
jugular or femoral vein.
Furniture, Flooring, Stairs, Cabinets and More Glues that use formaldehyde as a building block
are exceptional bonding agents. For example, formaldehyde-based resins are used to
manufacture composite products used extensively in cabinetry, countertops, moldings, furniture,
shelving, stair systems, flooring and many other household furnishings. These items are extremely
economical due to the superior bonding properties and efficient production of formaldehyde-
Cars and Trucks From the front to the rear bumpers, formaldehyde-based materials are key to
the manufacture of automobiles and are used to make components for the transmission,
electrical system, engine block, door panels, axles and brake shoes, just to name a few. It's even
used in the paint.
Inks Formaldehyde-based materials are used to produce the dollar bills we spend every day, the
documents we print from our computers and the ink used in books, magazines and newspapers.
Wrinkle-Free Clothing In textiles, formaldehyde-based materials help bind dyes and pigments to
fabrics and prevent the colors from running. These materials also help improve a fabric's
resistance to wrinkles and ease clothing care and maintenance.
Industry Uses Formaldehyde is an important building block chemical that is vital to our economy.
The wood products industry uses formaldehyde-based resins in a wide range of panel and board
products, enabling efficient and economic use of wood resources. It is also important to
agricultural and recreational products.
Little Known Uses of
Smoking embalming fluid with PCP can result in: Hallucinations;
symptoms associated with schizophrenia, including delusions and
paranoia; difficulty with speech or thought; loss of self-identity;
depression and weight loss. It can cause users to lose the bounds
of their egos and to lose touch with reality. Source: National Drug