Formaldehyde (systematic name methanal) is a naturally occurring organic compound with the formula CH2O (H-CHO). It is the simplest of the aldehydes (R-CHO). The common name of this substance comes from its similarity and relation to formic acid.
Formaldehyde is an important precursor to many other materials and chemical compounds. In 1996, the installed capacity for the production of formaldehyde was estimated at 8.7 million tons per year. It is mainly used in the production of industrial resins, e.g., for particle board and coatings.
In view of its widespread use, toxicity, and volatility, formaldehyde poses a significant danger to human health. In 2011, the US National Toxicology Program described formaldehyde as "known to be a human carcinogen.