Formaldehyde, which is a colorless gas, can smell like pickles. However, the odor can be very strong and suffocating if a person is exposed to this chemical. Some possible symptoms of formaldehyde exposure are ocular and nasal irritation, headaches, respiratory problems and nausea, according to the Minnesota Department of Health.
Formaldehyde is considered a volatile organic compound. This means that this substance can evaporate into the air at room temperature. A large amount of formaldehyde gas released into the air can cause different types of health problems in people.
Formaldehyde has multiple applications that include construction materials, adhesives, fabrics and many other commonly used products. The chemical formula for this chemical is CH2O, and its molecular weight is 30.025 grams per mole.