Discussion of all aspects of cellular structure, physiology and communication.
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Formaldehyde vapor produces immediate local irritation in mucous membranes, including eyes, nose, and upper respiratory tract. Ingestion of formalin causes severe injury to the gastrointestinal tract. The exact mechanism of action of formaldehyde toxicity is not clear, but it is known that it can interact with molecules on cell membranes and in body tissues and fluids (e.g., proteins and DNA) and disrupt cellular functions. High concentrations cause precipitation of proteins, which results in cell death. Absorption from the respiratory tract is very rapid; absorption from the gastrointestinal tract is also rapid, but may be delayed by ingestion with food. Once absorbed, formaldehyde is metabolized to formic acid, which may cause acid-base imbalance and a number of other systemic effects.
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