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Reviews of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology

Volume 203 of the series Reviews of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology pp 105-118

Date:

The Toxic Effects of Formaldehyde on the Nervous System

  • Ahmet SongurAffiliated withDepartment of Anatomy, School of Medicine, University of Kocatepe Email author 
  • , Oguz Aslan OzenAffiliated withDepartment of Anatomy, School of Medicine, University of Namik Kemal
  • , Mustafa SarsilmazAffiliated withDepartment of Anatomy, School of Medicine, University of Firat

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Abstract

Formaldehyde (FA) (formula: HCHO; IUPAC name: metanal) is a member of the aldehyde family and is one of the simplest organic molecules. FA is an irritating, colorless gas that has a pungent smell (Franklin et al. 2000; Smith 1992; Songur et al. 2003; Yamato et al. 2005). It is rarely found in its original state because it has a short half-life in air and decomposes in light to form a toxic substance. FA is highly soluble in water, as well as in most organic solvents, and is a highly reactive molecule that can be irritating to tissues through direct contact. Furthermore, FA causes cytotoxicity through the formation of strong DNA–protein cross-links, as well as cross-links with other molecules, e.g., amino acids (Cheng et al. 2003; Gurel et al. 2005; Metz et al. 2004).