The pollution of tap water and rain water with formaldehyde in Toyama Pref., Japan was investigated by means of a simple, rapid and cost-effective visual colorimetry developed by us. The levels of formaldehyde in three tap waters from different sources of dams on mountainside and a well-water pumped in urban area in Toyama Pref. were lower than 0.01 mg L−1 that was the detection limit of the colorimetry. On the other hand, rain waters were seriously polluted with formaldehyde. Rain waters were sampled from three different sites (urban area, top of hill and industrial area) in Toyama Pref. from autumn to winter in 2006. The levels of formaldehyde in the rain waters ranged from 0.07 to 0.30 mg L−1. The analytical results by the visual colorimetry were in good agreement with those obtained by GC-MS method. It was confirmed that the colorimetry is excellent for practical use for the determination of formaldehyde. It must be concerned about the pollution of rainwater with formaldehyde, when rain water is applied for tap water and miscellaneous purpose.

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