CAS Number: 50-00-0
Synonyms: formol, Methyl aldehyde, Methylene glycol, Methylene oxide
Formaldehyde is a colorless gas with a characteristic pungent odor. It is an important precursor to many other chemical compounds, especially polymers. Commercial solutions of formaldehyde in water, commonly called formalin are used in the preservation of biological specimens. An aqueous solution of formaldehyde can be useful as a disinfectant as it kills most bacteria and fungi (including their spores). Formaldehyde solutions are applied topically in medicine to dry the skin, such as in the treatment of warts.
Formaldehyde-based solutions are also used in embalming, to disinfect and temporarily preserve human and animal remains.