Agent Name


CAS Number




Major Category

Other Classes


1,2-Ethanedione; Aerotex glyoxal 40; Biformal; Biformyl; Diformal; Diformyl; Ethanedial; Glyoxylaldehyde; Oxal; Oxalaldehyde; Glyoxal, 29.2%; Glyoxal, 40%; Glyoxal solutions; [ChemIDplus]




Commercially available as a 40% aqueous solution, clear to slightly yellow with a faint, sour odor; [AIHA] Yellow solid that turns white on cooling; Vapors are green; mp = 15 deg C; [Merck Index] Liquid; Yellow solid below 15 deg C; [Reference #1]


Used in paper and textile production, leather tanning, textile dyeing, embalming, curing and cross-linking polymers; Also used as biocide and disinfectant and to make proteins and other materials insoluble; [HSDB] Used in organic synthesis and glues; [Merck Index] Used predominantly as a chemical intermediate; Also used as reducing agent in the photographic industry and to make silvered mirrors; [Reference #1]


A skin and mucous membrane irritant, but less irritating than formaldehyde; Emergency treatment: "Oxalic acid"; [HSDB] Glyoxal, a disinfectant, may cause allergic contact dermatitis among healthcare workers. [Marks, p. 339] If left on clothing, can cause reddening of skin; [CHRIS] Dust mixtures with air may be explosive; Rapidly polymerized on standing, contact with water (violently), and mixing in solvents containing water; A moderate skin and mucous membrane irritant; [Merck Index] 40% solution: A skin and eye irritant; May cause skin sensitization; [ICSC] The anhydrous form in unstable and only produced in laboratories; A strong skin sensitizer in a study of 24 humans; [Reference #1] Produced as a human metabolite; Also found in many fermented foods and beverages; Animal studies have shown the pancreas and kidney as the target organs; [Reference #2] A mild skin and severe eye irritant; Causes other liver changes and acute tubular necrosis in dermal lethal-dose studies of rabbits; [RTECS]

Reference Link

OECD SIDS: Glyoxal

Exposure Assessment
Skin Designation (ACGIH)

Insufficient data


0.1 mg/m3, inhalable fraction and vapor


0.1 mg/m3

Lethal Concentration

LC50 (rat) = 2,440 mg/m3/4h

Explanatory Notes

Flash point = 428 deg F; Melting point = 15 deg C for pure glyoxal and approximately -10 deg C for the 40% solution; [AIHA] Vapor pressure for pure anhydrous form is approximately 7.5 E-4 mm Hg with a VP of 13.5 mm Hg for 40% solution; [Reference #1]

Reference Link

INCHEM CICADS: Glyoxal - 2004

Adverse Effects
Skin Sensitizer



Hepatotoxin, Secondary

ACGIH Carcinogen

Not Classifiable

Links to Other NLM Databases
Health Studies

Human Health Effects from Hazardous Substances Data Bank:

Toxicity Information


Chemical Information

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Biomedical References

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Related Information in HazMap

Occupational diseases associated with exposure to this agent:


Industrial Processes with risk of exposure: