Formaldehyde's Rap Sheet Goes Beyond Cancer, Says EPA
June 22, 2010
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released a draft assessment of the dangers of formaldehyde that finds that pregnant women, children, and asthmatics are particularly susceptible to the health effects of inhaling the chemical.Formaldehyde was already a known carcinogen; the draft assessment just released by EPA adds information about its non-cancer effects, which include eye, nose, and throat irritation, decreased lung function, decreased immune system function, neurological damage, and reproductive damage.
The assessment will inform the information on formaldehyde in EPA’s Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS), which provides information on the known health risks of over 540 chemicals. EPA surveys the available scientific and medical literature on a given chemical, issuing draft reports for public comment before they become part of IRIS.
Formaldehyde is commonly found in building materials, including in binders used in composite wood products and in some insulation materials (see “”). IRIS is online at