Chapter 296-856, WAC

Effective Date: 09/01/06

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WAC 296-856-100


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This chapter applies to all occupational exposure to formaldehyde. Formaldehyde includes formaldehyde gas, its solutions, and materials that release formaldehyde.




Formaldehyde is an organic chemical with the formula of HCHO, represented by the chemical abstract service (CAS) registry number 50-00-0. Examples of primary uses of formaldehyde and its solutions are as follows:

  • An intermediate in the production of:
    • - Resins
    • - Industrial chemicals
    • - A bactericide or fungicide
    • - A preservative
    • - A component in the production of end-use consumer items such as cosmetics, shampoos, and glues

Exposure is the contact an employee has with formaldehyde, whether or not protection is provided by respirators or other personal protective equipment (PPE). Exposure can occur through various routes of entry such as inhalation, ingestion, skin contact, or skin absorption.


Some of the requirements in this chapter may not apply to every workplace with an occupational exposure to formaldehyde. At a minimum, you need to:

  • Follow requirements in the basic rules sections, WAC 296-856-20010 through 296-856-20070.
  • Use employee exposure monitoring results required by Exposure evaluation, WAC 296-856-20060.
  • Follow Table 1 to find out which additional sections of this chapter apply to your workplace.
  • Table 1
    Sections That Apply to Your Workplace
    Then continue to follow the basic rules, and the additional requirements in
    • Employee exposure monitoring results are above the 8-hour time weighted average (TWA8) or short term exposure limit (STEL)
    • Employee exposure monitoring results are:
    • - Below the TWA8 and STEL
    • - Above the action level (AL)
    • Employee exposure monitoring results are below the AL and STEL


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