One study found that workers exposed to formaldehyde had higher than normal levels of chromosome changes in early white blood cells in their bone marrow. Formaldehyde levels in homes can also be reduced by not allowing smoking inside and by ensuring adequate ventilation (use your stove vent fan for example), moderate temperatures, and reduced humidity levels through the use of air conditioners and dehumidifiers. © 2020 American Cancer Society, Inc. All rights reserved. Studies of workers who breathe in very high levels of formaldehyde over many years have shown a link to rare cancers. Help make it a reality. It is a gas that can irritate a person’s eyes, nose, throat, and lungs, or trigger an asthma attack, even at low concentrations. During the 1970s, urea-formaldehyde foam insulation (UFFI) was used in many homes. This finding supports the possible link between formaldehyde exposure and leukemia. The number one childhood cancer is leukemia." No-added formaldehyde (NAF). In addition to the American Cancer Society, other sources of information and support include*: California Safe Cosmetics Program Collects information on hazardous and potentially hazardous ingredients in cosmetic products sold in California. American Cancer Society medical information is copyrighted material. This substance has been found in at least 26 of the 1,467 National Priorities List sites identified by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). J Natl Cancer Inst. Am J Epidemiol. This site uses cookies to help deliver an engaging user experience. Website: www.fema.gov. Toll-free number: 1-800-321-6742 (1-800-321-OSHA) Pierce JS, Abelmann A, Spicer LJ, Adams RE, Glynn ME, Neier K, Finley BL, Gaffney SH. Formaldehyde and Cancer Risk Fact Sheet. A. In rats, inhaled formaldehyde was linked to cancers of the nasal cavity and leukemia. The American Cancer Society medical and editorial content team. The post reads: "I was an embalmer for 18 years. In 1996 and again in 2006, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) of the World Health Organization concluded that formaldehyde was a human carcinogen . Hauptmann M, Lubin JH, Stewart PA, Hayes RB, Blair A. Mortality from solid cancers among workers in formaldehyde industries. 2010;19:80-88. US Department of Health and Human Services. Formaldehyde is a complete carcinogen and appears to exert an effect on at least two stages of the carcinogenic process. Air out new furniture made from composite wood products containing formaldehyde. It dissolves easily in water, but does not last long there, either. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) maintains information about cosmetics and drugs that contain formaldehyde. Mortality from lymphohematopoietic malignancies and brain cancer among embalmers exposed to formaldehyde. When swallowed, formaldehyde can cause severe pain, vomiting, and diarrhea. Professional keratin hair smoothing treatments can contain formaldehyde or formaldehyde releasing chemicals. Accessed at http://ntp.niehs.nih.gov/ntp/roc/twelfth/profiles/Formaldehyde.pdf on June 13, 2011. Formaldehyde is a preservative that has been recognized by the National Cancer Institute as a potential cancer-causing substance. It is used in pressed-wood products, such as particleboard, plywood, and fiberboard; glues and adhesives; permanent-press fabrics; paper product coatings; and certain insulation materials. IARC Monographs on the Evaluation of Carcinogenic Risks to Humans. The American Cancer Society warns that formaldehyde is a known carcinogen. Formaldehyde is normally made in the body. Occupational Health and Safety Administration. US Food and Drug Administration US Consumer Product Safety Commission History. Materials containing formaldehyde can release it as a gas or vapor into the air. What do I do if I miss a dose? Homes in which UFFI was installed many years ago are not likely to have high formaldehyde levels now. Formaldehyde is also a component of tobacco smoke and both smokers and those breathing secondhand smoke are exposed to higher levels of formaldehyde. 6/10/2011. The National Funeral Directors Association is the world’s leading, largest and most trusted association to support funeral professionals. Surveillance considerations. Studies in the lab Clear differences in levels of a formaldehyde-DNA adduct in leukocytes of smokers and nonsmokers. Toll-free number: 1-800-638-2772 (1-800-638-CPSC) Formaldehyde also occurs naturally in the environment. 2011. EPA's proposed 2010 risk value even suggests that human breath poses an unacceptable risk of cancer. Pressed-wood products containing formaldehyde resins are often a source of formaldehyde in homes. Our team of expert journalists brings you all angles of the cancer story – from breaking news and survivor stories to in-depth insights into cutting-edge research. Extended follow-up of a cohort of British chemical workers exposed to formaldehyde. The study concluded that inhalation by mice of a maximum tolerated dose of formaldehyde did not cause an increased incidence of nasal tumors, leukemia, or lymphohematopoietic tumors in Trp53+ mice. 2004;61:193–200. Lefebvre MA, Meuling WJ, Engel R, Coroama MC, Renner G, Pape W, Nohynek GJ. Plus, low levels of formaldehyde have been found to cause irritation of the eyes, nose, throat, and skin. It can also be used as a preservative in some foods and in products, such as antiseptics, medicines, and cosmetics. Keep out of your mouth, nose, and eyes (may burn). At the American Cancer Society, we’re on a mission to free the world from cancer. Hauptmann M, Stewart PA, Lubin JH, et al. US Environmental Protection Agency. Research. Workers in industries that make formaldehyde or formaldehyde-containing products, lab technicians, some health care professionals, and funeral home employees may be exposed to higher levels of formaldehyde than the general public. 2012. This site uses cookies - you have the ability to accept or decline cookies. Exposure to relatively high amounts of formaldehyde in medical and occupational settings has been linked to some types of cancer in humans, but the effect of exposure to small amounts is less clear. Become a volunteer, make a tax-deductible donation, or participate in a fundraising event to help us save lives. 2009;69:7170-7174. Researchers have been studying a possible link between hair dye use and cancer for many years. Formaldehyde exposure from the tested laminate flooring would be much lower and would last for less time than the exposures linked to those cancers. Accessed at http://monographs.iarc.fr/ENG/Monographs/vol100F/mono100F-29.pdf on March 25, 2014. Make sure to dry well. People who are concerned about formaldehyde exposure from personal care products and cosmetics can avoid using products that contain or release formaldehyde. In one large study of workers in industries that make or use formaldehyde, the average level of formaldehyde exposure was 0.45 parts per million (ppm) overall, with less than 3% of workers experiencing more than 2 ppm on average. 2004;159:1117–1130. Humans and most other living organisms make small amounts as part of normal metabolic processes. Use on your skin only. Learn more about these partnerships and how you too can join us in our mission to save lives, celebrate lives, and lead the fight for a world without cancer. Formaldehyde can be added as a preservative to food, but it can also be produced as the result of cooking and smoking. Trp53 + mice. Children are now injected with dozens more vaccines than we received as children and one of their ingredients is formaldehyde (used as a vaccine preservative). Enzymes in the body break down formaldehyde into formate (formic acid), which can be further broken down into carbon dioxide. High concentrations may trigger attacks in people with asthma. All so you can live longer — and better. Studies looking at the link between workplace exposure to formaldehyde and other types of cancer have not found a consistent link. It’s also important to follow recommended screening guidelines, which can help detect certain cancers early. What does it take to outsmart cancer? To learn more about what cookies are and how to manage them visit. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has information about workplace exposure limits for formaldehyde. National Cancer Institute researchers have concluded that, based on data from studies in people and from lab research, exposure to formaldehyde may cause leukemia, particularly myeloid leukemia, in humans. You can help reduce your risk of cancer by making healthy choices like eating right, staying active and not smoking. This includes workers in any workplace where formaldehyde exposure is likely, including hair salons that use commercial hair smoothing products that release formaldehyde. Exposure to formaldehyde has been shown to cause cancer in laboratory test animals. Public Health Service, National Toxicology Program. Lead. One study found much higher levels of formaldehyde bound to DNA in the white blood cells of smokers compared to non-smokers. *Inclusion on this list does not imply endorsement by the American Cancer Society. Formaldehyde (gas) is on the Proposition 65 list because it can cause cancer. From basic information about cancer and its causes to in-depth information on specific cancer types – including risk factors, early detection, diagnosis, and treatment options – you’ll find it here. Regul Toxicol Pharmacol. According to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, formaldehyde is normally present at low levels (less than 0.03 parts per million) in both indoor and outdoor air. This means that it may cause cancer or help cancer to grow. Medical and occupational history: Along with its acute irritative effects, formaldehyde can cause allergic sensitization and cancer. The primary evidence supporting this conclusion was increases in cancer in workers exposed to formaldehyde concentrations exceeding the concentrations present in most non-occupational indoor environments. Consumer inhalation exposure to formaldehyde from the use of personal care products/cosmetics. J Natl Cancer Inst. Until we do, we’ll be funding and conducting research, sharing expert information, supporting patients, and spreading the word about prevention. New research has revealed that some of the toxin formaldehyde in our bodies does not come from our environment -- it is a by-product of an essential reaction inside our own cells. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Sometimes, although formaldehyde is not used, substances that release formaldehyde are. Both wood dust and formaldehyde are Group 1 carcinogens. In 2011, the NTP determined that formaldehyde exposure may cause cancer in humans and listed formaldehyde for the first time as a carcinogen on its 14th Report on Carcinogens. In one study of rats given drinking water containing formaldehyde there was an increase in stomach tumors, while another showed no increase in any kind of tumor or cancer. Formaldehyde is found in every living system from – plants to animals to humans – produced as part of our normal metabolic process. The objective of this study was to evaluate the potential role of the Trp53 gene. In 2004, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified formaldehyde as “carcinogenic to humans,” specifically the extremely rare nasopharyngeal cancer. Formaldehyde has been widely studied by scientists for over thirty years. 2003;95:1615–1623. The American Chemistry Council described the study as “add[ing] to the scientific evidence that finds formaldehyde doesn't cause cancer.”. The most common cancer contracted by embalmers is leukemia due to formaldehyde exposure. We couldn’t do what we do without our volunteers and donors. The result of formaldehyde for a long time funeral directors most closely at the link between workplace exposure to has! Suppressor and formaldehyde-induced cancers that it may cause some types of cancer Toll-free number: 1-800-321-6742 ( )! In homes these can raise Indoor air Quality ( IAQ ): Formadehyde.6/20/2012 leading... 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