May 29, 2006
Image of Formaldehyde

Formaldehyde emissions from wood paneling, carpets, and tobacco smoke cause respiratory irritation, and possibly cancer, in some individuals. Forest fires also produce formaldehyde, and trace amounts of formaldehyde are a normal byproduct of human food metabolism. In 1969, formaldehyde's microwave signature was detected in interstellar space.

MOTW update: 
April 02, 2018

Last week, C&EN reported that potentially harmful volatile organic compounds (VOCs) can be emitted from the plastics used in 3-D printers. Among the VOCs are former Molecules of the Week styrene (June 8, 2015), formaldehyde (May 29, 2006), and caprolactam (September 19, 2016). Regulatory standards may be in the offing for manufacturers of these printers.

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