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Formaldehyde is a colorless, strong-smelling gas that mixes readily with water. Short-term exposures can irritate the eyes and nose and cause coughing and wheezing. Longer exposures may cause severe allergic reactions of the skin, eyes, and respiratory tract. Long-term exposure to low levels of formaldehyde in the air or on the skin can cause asthma-like symptoms and dermatitis. Formaldehyde exposure is also linked to leukemia and lung cancer.
When they are using products that contain formaldehyde, employers must conduct air monitoring to identify employees who may be exposed to at or above certain exposure levels.
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