Mice in Formaldehyde
Mice in Formaldehyde (Photo credit: spike55151)

We all know IMDG Code regulates goods which are dangerous (which can harm lives, destroy properties or pollute environment) for transport by sea.

Today let’s look at what is formaldehyde, how dangerous it is and how IMDG Code regulates its safe transport by sea.

In Addition let’s look at toothpaste too since it is our best friend who greets us first in the day break every day!

Dissected Rat in Formaldehyde
Dissected Rat in Formaldehyde (Photo credit: Curious Expeditions)


Formaldehyde is used in building materials, as disinfectant, as photographic chemicals, in morgue etc.

At room temperature formaldehyde is a colorless gas which is also flammable. NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) fire diamond for formaldehyde shown below has following interpretation

Blue (health) 3 = Short exposure could cause serious temporary or moderate residual injury

Red (Flammability) 4 = Will rapidly or completely vaporize at normal atmospheric pressure and temperature, or is readily dispersed in air and will burn readily Flash point below 23°C (73°F)

Yellow (Instability/Reactivity) 0 = Normally stable, even under fire exposure conditions, and is not reactive with water.

As per information available from National Cancer Institute  when concentration of formaldehyde is more than 0.1 ppm in air some people may experience watery eyes, burning sensation in eyes, nose and throat; coughing; wheezing; nausea and skin irritation.

International Agency for research on cancer has identified formaldehyde as a known human carcinogen.

Indoor Air Quality information on formaldehyde can be found here


IMDG Code lists formaldehyde as below


Class 3 (flammable)

Subsidiary risk 8 (corrosive)

UN 2209 FORMALDEHYDE SOLUTION with not less than 25% formaldehyde

Class 3 (Flammable)


Crest MultiCare Whitening toothpaste
Crest MultiCare Whitening toothpaste (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Certain toothpaste also contain formaldehyde, brushing and clearing bacteria with a carcinogen 😉 don’t worry the amount of formaldehyde in tooth paste is too less to develop cancer. We may have to eat 1000s of toothpaste tubes a day to run into risk.

Logo for the United States Occupational Safety...
Logo for the United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Click here for OSHA factsheet about formaldehyde

Formaldehyde Free, I feel Ripped Off
Formaldehyde Free, I feel Ripped Off (Photo credit: Augapfel)

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