Agent Name
CAS Number
Major Category
Other Classes
Glyoxal formula graphical representation
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 #1
Biomedical References

Exposure Assessment

Skin Designation (ACGIH)
Insufficient data
0.1 mg/m3, inhalable fraction and vapor
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 #2
0.1 mg/m3

Adverse Effects

Skin Sensitizer
Hepatoxic (a) from occupational exposure (secondary effect) or (b) in animal studies or in humans after ingestion
ACGIH Carcinogen
Not Classifiable

Diseases, Processes, and Activities Linked to This Agent


Occupational diseases associated with exposure to this agent: