Formaldehyde is listed as a substance “reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen” in the Eleventh Report on Carcinogens published by the National Toxicology Program because long-term exposure has been linked to increased cancer of the nose and throat. Drinking large amounts of formaldehyde can cause coma and death due to respiratory failure.
Exposure to high levels of formaldehyde can cause a build-up of fluid in the lungs, severe shortness of breath, bronchitis, and rapid heart rate. Continued exposure can also cause severe allergic reactions of the skin and eyes, skin allergies and rashes, and asthma-like allergies with coughing, wheezing, chest tightness, and a drop in body temperature.
Exposure to low levels of formaldehyde can irritate and burn the eyes, nose, throat, and skin. In women, exposure can cause menstrual disorders. People with asthma may be more sensitive to exposure to formaldehyde.