Formaldehyde added to list of carcinogens

June 15, 2011

Washington – The Department of Health and Human Services on June 10 added eight substances, including the industrial chemical formaldehyde, to its Report on Carcinogens.

The report identifies chemicals and biological agents that may cause cancer in humans. According to HHS, research shows high exposure to formaldehyde increases the risk for certain types of cancer, such as nasopharyngeal, sinonasal and myeloid leukemia.

Formaldehyde is used to make resins for household items, as a preservative in medical laboratories and in consumer goods such as hair straightening products. In fact, after receiving complaints from hair stylists, OSHA in April issued an alert about hair smoothing products that may release formaldehyde despite being labeled “formaldehyde-free.”

The other substances added to the list were aristolochic acids, captafol, cobalt-tungsten carbide (in powder or hard metal form), certain inhalable glass wool fibers, o-nitrotoluene, riddelliine and styrene.