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Can short term exposure to paraformaldehyde affect the embryo?

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ENT Specialist
Practicing since : 2001
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I accidently inhaled RV toilet chemical dust containing paraformaldehyde and I may be pregnant - I am concerned about the potential effects - could this effect the pregnancy or embryo?
Posted Sun, 15 Apr 2012 in Pregnancy
Answered by Dr. Naveen Kumar 56 minutes later

Thanks for the query

There are no studies showing harmful effects on the human embryo following short term exposure of the Paraformaldehyde. Well some studies have been conducted in animals to study the effect of the formaldehyde for a long duration but have failed to produce any significant side effects in the offspring.

So, no need to worry about any harmful effects on the embryo. In most of the studies, exposure caused temporary reversible decreases in lung function, but no long-term effects. Even the medical students and the tutors during their anatomy dissection are exposed to some amount of formaldehyde for a long duration, but no side effects on the fetus has been documented.

Hope I have answered your query, if you have any more doubts you are welcome.

Dr. Naveen Kumar
ENT and Head & Neck Surgeon
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Can short term exposure to paraformaldehyde affect the embryo? 1 hour later
Of course I now am concerned about the remaining ingredients in the cleanser - instead of asking about each individual one may I ask if brief chemical exposure (via inhalation) is cause for concern. Of course I will avoid all exposure in the future but am highly concerned about this one.
Answered by Dr. Naveen Kumar 11 hours later

Welcome back

The RV chemical dust contains the following ingredients:
Active biocides
Odor controlling agents
Concentrating agents
Chelating reagent
Surface-active substances/emulsifiers

None of these agents are harmful to the embryo or growing fetus when exposed for a short duration. And, of all these agents, Paraformaldehyde is the most XXXXXXX one.

Well, it could have been harmful if there was any accidental consumption of this substance, as it would have got absorbed into the blood stream causing health problems.

Inhalation of these substances at the most can cause irritation of the lung tissue, but the chance of these agents getting absorbed into the blood stream via lungs is almost impossible in a brief exposure. So, do not worry, there will be no adverse effects on the embryo or fetus.

Wish you Good Health

Dr. Naveen Kumar
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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