Standard Article

Formaldehyde, Environmental Analysis of

Environment: Water and Waste

  1. S.S. Srivastava,
  2. K. Maharaj Kumari

Published Online: 15 SEP 2006

DOI: 10.1002/9780470027318.a0821

Encyclopedia of Analytical Chemistry

Encyclopedia of Analytical Chemistry

How to Cite

Srivastava, S. and Maharaj Kumari, K. 2006. Formaldehyde, Environmental Analysis of. Encyclopedia of Analytical Chemistry. .

Author Information

  1. Dayalbagh Educational Institute, Dayalbagh Agra, India

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 SEP 2006


Formaldehyde is a ubiquitous component of both the remote atmosphere and polluted urban atmospheres. Interest in ambient concentrations of formaldehyde derives both from concerns over health effects and from the primary role that formaldehyde plays in the tropospheric chemistry cycle. It is an important intermediate product occurring in all regions of the atmosphere, and arises from the oxidation of methane and other biogenic and anthropogenic hydrocarbons. In spite of the increasing interest in the levels and fate of formaldehyde in the environment, there is at present no simple method available for the determination of trace amounts (i.e. nanograms) of carbonyls in air, water, and other environmental samples. This article reviews all the available methods (qualitative and quantitative) for the analysis of formaldehyde in various matrices, including sampling of atmospheric formaldehyde. The various methods discussed include colorimetric, titrimetric, polarographic, and chromatographic methods. Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) and tunable diode laser absorption spectroscopy (TDLAS) have been reviewed, and fluorimetric methods of analysis have also been dealt with. The article includes a comparison of the various methods with respect to sensitivity, detection limits and interference.