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C-FERST Issue Profile: Acetaldehyde

Acetaldehyde is commonly found in the environment and is produced during plant respiration. It is also formed as a product of incomplete wood combustion.  Residential fireplaces and woodstoves are the two highest sources of acetaldehyde emissions, followed by various industrial emissions.

Acetaldehyde is used in the production of perfumes, polyester resins, and basic dyes. It is also used as a fruit and fish preservative, flavoring agent, and denaturant for alcohol in fuel compositions; for hardening gelatin; and as a solvent in the rubber, tanning, and paper industries.

EPA has classified acetaldehyde as a probable human carcinogen. Short-term exposure to acetaldehyde can cause eye, skin, and respiratory tract irritation.  Long-term symptoms of acetaldehyde intoxication can resemble those of alcoholism. Data on acetaldehyde’s carcinogenic effects on humans is limited. Animal studies have reported tumors following inhalation exposure to acetaldehyde.

Learn more about acetaldehyde by exploring the links below.