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Complete Health Indicator Report of Formaldehyde in Outdoor Air


Mean of modeled annual average formaldehyde concentration for census tracts in a county using 2017 NATA data.


Modeled mean formaldehyde concentration in micrograms per cubic meter



Why Is This Important?

Formaldehyde, a colorless, pungent-smelling gas, is a chemical used widely to make building materials and numerous household products. It is formed in tobacco smoke, wood smoke and automobile exhaust. In outdoor air, formaldehyde is produced in the atmosphere through chemical reactions between other pollutants and sunlight. Exposure to elevated levels of formaldehyde in air can cause watery eyes, burning sensations in the eyes and throat, nausea, difficulty in breathing, and asthma attacks. Formaldehyde is classified by the International Agency for Research on Cancer as carcinogenic to humans. Exposure may increase the risk of nasal cancers.

How Are We Doing?

All New Jersey counties exceed the health benchmark of 0.077 micrograms of formaldehyde per cubic meter of air. The highest ambient air concentration can be found in the northeast counties. Formaldehyde air concentrations throughout the state are also influenced by out-of-state emissions from both stationary and mobile sources.

What Is Being Done?

In the outdoor environment, formaldehyde is a byproduct of combustion and subject to the general controls on automobile and stationary sources. Industrial facilities that emit this chemical must obtain permits from the NJDEP Air Program and are also subject to state and federal air pollution control technology requirements. Indoor exposures have been reduced significantly as the result of the elimination of urea formaldehyde foam as an insulating material. However, formaldehyde continues to be used in other products such as pressed wood furniture.

Available Services

To view select air quality data collected at outdoor monitors across the United States go to: [] New Jersey County Risk Ratio tables can be found at the following URL: []

Related Indicators

Related Relevant Population Characteristics Indicators:

Data Tables

Formaldehyde Concentrations in Outdoor Air, by New Jersey County, 2017 NATA

CountyMean Concentration (ug/m3)
Record Count: 22
Cape May0.98
New Jersey1.13

Data Notes

Data Source: National-scale Air Toxics Assessment (NATA), 2017 and NJDEP Division of Air Quality

Data Sources

  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
  • Bureau of Air Monitoring, New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection

Source Contribution Estimates, Percent by Source, Statewide for New Jersey, 2017 NATA

Percent of Formaldehyde by Source
Record Count: 5
On-road Mobile2.7
Non-road Mobile2.7

Data Notes

Data Source: National-scale Air Toxics Assessment (NATA), 2017 and NJDEP Division of Air Quality

References and Community Resources

The USEPA Integrated Risk Information System provides more detailed information about formaldehyde and research studies on its health effects. [] New Jersey Statewide Average 2005 NATA Modeled Air Concentrations and comparisons to health benchmarks can be found at: [] Pollution Prevention and Community Right to Know: [] NJDEP "What's in My Community?" mapping application: [] On the map you will find every facility with an air permit registered with the Division of Air Quality at the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection.

Page Content Updated On 03/17/2022, Published on 03/22/2022
The information provided above is from the Department of Health's NJSHAD web site ( The information published on this website may be reproduced without permission. Please use the following citation: " Retrieved Tue, 16 April 2024 20:11:40 from Department of Health, New Jersey State Health Assessment Data Web site: ".

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