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Consider the following statements with respect to Formaldehyde :

1. Formaldehyde solution can be used to increase the shelf life of fresh food.

2  It occurs naturally in plants and animals.

3. It is considered carcinogenic and exposure for long can cause cancer.

Which of the statements given above are correct?

1. 1 and 2 only
2. 2 and 3 only
3. 1 and 3 only
4. 1, 2 and 3 

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Best answer
Correct Answer - Option 4 : 1, 2 and 3 

The correct answer is 1, 2 and 3.

  • Formaldehyde
    • It is an organic compound, the simplest of the aldehydes, used in large amounts in a variety of chemical manufacturing processes.
    • Formalin is an aqueous solution of formaldehyde.
    • Formalin is used as a fungicide, germicide, and disinfectant. In mortuaries, it is used as a preservative for bodies and organs.
    • It can also increase the shelf life of fresh food. Hence statement 1 is correct.
    • Exposure to it causes irritation to mucous membranes like the throat, respiratory tract causing sore throats, bronchitis and pneumonia. It can also cause an allergic reaction.
    • It is considered carcinogenic and exposure for a long can cause various cancers. Hence statement 3 is correct.
    • Formalin causes kidney and liver problems.
    • Formaldehyde occurs naturally in plants and animals, as a result of their own metabolism. Hence statement 2 is correct.
    • For instance, in vegetables, 20 to 60 mg formaldehyde per kg is present and 5 to 140 mg in a kilo of fish depending on the type.
    • As the chemical is water-soluble it dissolves in water and can be removed by cleaning and cooking the vegetable or meat properly.

  • Operation Sagar Rani - 
    • It was launched by the Food Safety Department of Kerala to stop the mixing of formalin in fish.
    • Formalin is used as a preservative to increase the shelf life of fish.
    • Authorities seized large amounts of chemical-laden fish during the operation.

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