Is fevicol biodegradable? (5 applications of fevicol)

This blog shall answer the question, “is fevicol biodegradable?”.

It shall also cover other areas such as:

  • The properties and applications of fevicol adhesive.
  • Biodegradation process of organic material.
  • Types of adhesives.
  • Toxicity of adhesives.
  • Eco-friendliness of fevicol adhesive.

Is fevicol biodegradable?

No, fevicol is not biodegradable because it is a synthetic material made from non-biodegradable components of urea and formaldehyde.

Biodegradation is the breakdown of organic matter by water, oxygen, light, radiation, bacteria, and fungi.

Biodegradation breaks down naturally occurring substances into small biomass and other products such as methane and carbon dioxide gases.

Some of the biomass becomes part of the soil, enriching the soil fertility, while some are assimilated by the bacteria and fungi to be used in their body systems.

Bacteria and fungi produce different products on biodegradation, depending on their enzymes or the chemical constituents of the substances being degraded.

Adhesives are also broken down into small matters depending on their chemical structure.

Another determinant for the products of biodegradation is the type of biodegradation that is taking place.

Aerobic biodegradation: this involves the breakdown of substances by bacteria or fungi in the presence of oxygen.

The gas produced in aerobic biodegradation is carbon dioxide.

Anaerobic biodegradation: this is the breakdown of substances in the absence of oxygen.

The bacteria or fungi use other gases like methane in place of oxygen.

The gas produced in this type of biodegradation is mainly methane which is used by the microorganisms for respiration.

Aerobic biodegradation occurs at a much faster rate than anaerobic respiration, on the other hand, anaerobic respiration is more efficient and thorough than aerobic respiration.

Uses of fevicol.

Fevicol is the most popular glue in India. It is produced by the Pidilite industries. It is branded as white glue and is produced by heating a mixture of urea and formaldehyde.

Biodegradation works on every organic matter.

The applications of fevicol include:

  • It is used to bond woods.
  • It is used for plywood and MDF lamination.
  • It is used in the manufacturing of sporting goods.
  • It is used for bookbinding.

Fevicol comes in different brands such as 

Fevicol SH and Fevicol SH Xtra.

What are the components of fevicol adhesive?

Fevicol is a synthetic adhesive that is synthesized by heating urea and formaldehyde together.


This is an organic hydrocarbon that is naturally occurring in plants and animals. It is also called methanal, or formalin.

It is the simplest member of the aldehyde class.

Due to its high number of applications, formaldehyde is produced in bulk in industries. It is produced in the following means:

It is produced via catalytic oxidation of methanol using silver as the catalyst. A mixture of iron and molybdenum or vanadium oxide can also be used as a catalyst.

The main process used is the one where methanol and oxygen are reacted together at a temperature of 250-400⁰ C using a mixture of iron oxide and molybdenum or vanadium as the catalyst.

The reaction yields formaldehyde.

Formaldehyde may occur in different forms but the most common ones are:

  • Molecule formaldehyde- This is colorless with a pungent smell. It is a stable molecule under high temperatures but polymerizes when it’s condensed into a liquid.
  • 1,3,5-trioxane ( tri-formaldehyde)- This is a solid that can dissolve in organic solvents such as naphthalene and diethyl ether. It is a polymer made up of 3 molecules of formaldehyde and hence it is a trimer of molecular formaldehyde.
  • Paraformaldehyde- this is a solid form of formaldehyde, it is white. The solid is insoluble in many organic solvents.

Properties of formaldehyde.

Phenol contains the following characteristics.

  • It is flammable.
  • It has a pungent smell.
  • It is colorless at room temperature.
  • It is biocidal to bacteria and fungi.

Applications of formaldehyde.

Formaldehyde is one of the most used organic compounds.

It is used in the following ways.

  • It is used to make urea-formaldehyde resin.
  • It is used in making melamine resin.
  • It is used in making phenol-formaldehyde resin such as floral foam.
  • It is used to make alcohols such as pentaerythritol which is used in making paints and explosives.
  • It is also used in making derivatives used in polyurethane paints.
  • It is used as a disinfectant since it kills bacteria and fungi.
  • It is used as an additive in the manufacturing of vaccines.
  • Formaldehyde is used in cosmetics as a preservative.
  • It is used in aquaria to treat parasite infestation.

Formaldehyde toxicity.

Formaldehyde is widely considered to have toxic effects on humans and other animals. The effects include:

  • It is regarded as carcinogenic.
  • It burns to produce toxic fumes which are air pollutants.
  • It is an eye and skin irritant.
  • It is toxic to the nervous system.


This is an organic amide molecule with the chemical CO(NH2)2. It is also called carbamide.

Urea is the main molecule in the metabolism of nitrogen-containing compounds in animals. It is the molecule that is central to the synthesis of urine in mammals and uric acid in birds.

Properties of urea.

The following are the properties of urea.

  • It is neither acidic nor basic.
  • It is a colorless molecule.
  • It is odorless.
  • It is highly soluble in water.
  • It is non-toxic.
  • It is solid.

Applications of urea.

Urea has a plethora of uses that include:

  • It is used in the production of nitrogen-based fertilizers.
  • It is used in the manufacturing of urea-formaldehyde and urea-melamine-formaldehyde resins.
  • It is used to make urea nitrate, a very explosive compound used in making explosives.
  • It is used in selective non-catalytic reduction (SNCR) and selective catalytic reduction (SCR) reactions to reduce nitrous pollutants in exhaust gases formed by burning diesel and natural gas.
  • It is used in laboratories in protein denaturation reactions, a process that increases the solubility of some proteins.
  • It is used as a hydrogen source in fuel cells.
  • It is used to make fixed brain tissues.
  • It is used in cosmetic creams to increase skin rehydration.
  • It is used in the medical field to treat psoriasis, eczema, keratosis, keratoderma, xerosis, and onychomycosis.
  • It is injected into the uterus to induce abortion.
  • It is used to coat drugs that are injected into the blood vessels.
  • Urea marked with carbon 14 and carbon 13 is used in the detection of Helicobacter pylori (H.pylori).
  • It is used to make animal feed.
  • It is used in road de-icing.
  • Used in making teeth whiteners.
  • Used to make Plankton nutrients.

Urea toxicity.

Urea contains the following toxic effects.

  • It irritates the eyes, skin, and respiratory tract.
  • Prolonged contact with skin causes dermatitis.
  • It can cause tissue damage when it is in high concentration in blood.
  • It causes algal bloom to produce toxins, its high nitrogen content also increases the blooming of toxic algae.
  • It breaks down under high temperatures to produce toxic fumes.
  • It reacts with nitrites, inorganic chlorides, and chlorides to cause fire and explosion.

Is fevicol eco-friendly?

Yes, Fevicol is eco-friendly because it does not break down easily into toxic substances.

However, when heated, or under high temperatures, fevicol may disintegrate into its constituents urea and formaldehyde which are very harmful to the environment.

Urea can break down to produce fumes that are harmful to plants and animals.

Formaldehyde disintegrates to produce poisonous gases.

Comparing fevicol to several types of biodegradable adhesives, it is clear that fevicol can not be biodegradable because of its components.

Although urea is organic, formaldehyde makes fevicol to be non-biodegradable because formaldehyde has antiseptic properties and kills microorganisms.

Is fevicol toxic?

No, when used as directed by the manufacturer, fevicol is safe to use.

However, there have been cases where some people use fevicol as a cosmetic to treat their skin. This is improver use and Fevicol could produce unfavorable effects on the skin.

The formaldehyde component of fevicol is poisonous and has carcinogenic properties.

A high concentration of urea in the blood also damages body tissues and kills cells.


This article has covered the question of the biodegradation of fevicol.

It has also covered other areas like.

  • The components of fevicol.
  • Properties and applications of urea.
  • Properties and applications of formaldehyde.
  • Properties and applications of fevicol.
  • Eco-friendliness of fevicol.
  • Toxicity of fevicol.

For any questions or comments please use the comment section below.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): is fevicol biodegradable?

Is Fevicol made of plastic?

No, fevicol is made from urea and formaldehyde chemicals which are heated together to form fevicol.

What is an eco-friendly adhesive?

An eco-friendly adhesive does not emit toxic chemicals to the environment.

The best eco-friendly adhesives are those made from plant products and are biodegradable.

Can I put Fevicol on my face?

No, fevicol is made of formaldehyde which is a highly carcinogenic molecule.

Formaldehyde and urea cause skin, eyes, and nose irritation.


Shukla, Tanvi (11 June 2008). “It’s the pitch that keeps Fevicol’s stickiness alive”. DNA Money. Archived from the original on 10 October 2014. Retrieved 2009-06-28

Pidilite launches Fevicol SH Xtra in Hyderabad”. January 27, 2015. Archived from the original on February 15, 2015. Retrieved October 4, 2018.

Crawford JH, McIntosh JF (1925). “The use of urea as a diuretic in advanced heart failure”. Archives of Internal Medicine. New York. 36 (4): 530–541. doi:10.1001/archinte.1925.0012016008800

National Research Council (2014). Review of the Formaldehyde Assessment in the National Toxicology Program 12th Report on Carcinogens (PDF). Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. p. 91. doi:10.17226/18948. 

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