Introduction to Formaldehyde
Formaldehyde is the simplest aldehyde that is produced endogenously by plants, animals, and humans, and is also made synthetically. Naturally present on Earth and ubiquitous in the universe, formaldehyde is a major source for organic compounds essential to life. Synthesized formaldehyde has a number of widespread industrial and medical applications that make it nearly universal in the modern environment and highly significant to the global economy. In this introductory chapter, the link between interstellar formaldehyde and life on Earth, as well as the sources, production, applications, and human health impacts of formaldehyde are explained. A special focus is placed on China and the United States, as they are the leading global formaldehyde producers and consumers. Finally, controversial and neglected issues in formaldehyde studies are outlined as the goals of the book.