Formaldehyde – Cancer


From correspondents in Lyon, France

June 17, 2004

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) ruled today that the common chemical formaldehyde, to which more than one million workers are exposed in Europe, was a carcinogen.

The IARC, part of the World Health Organisation, said there was sufficient evidence to show that formaldehyde caused cancer of the nose and mouth, which is relatively rare in developed countries.

It said there was also strong but not sufficient evidence that leukaemia could be caused by formaldehyde, which is used in the production of resins used as adhesives and binders in the timber and paper industries.

Formaldehyde is also used in the production of plastics and coatings, in textile finishing, in the manufacture of industrial chemicals and as a disinfectant and preservative.

The IARC said the introduction of resins that released less formaldehyde and improved ventilation had decreased the level of exposure in recent years.

Source: The Australian