EPA Releases Draft Formaldehyde Assessment Report

On June 2, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released for independent peer review and public comment a draft human health assessment for formaldehyde that focuses on evaluating the potential toxicity of inhalation exposures to this chemical.

Formaldehyde is widely used and can be found in many consumer products such as some plywood adhesives, abrasive materials, insulation, insecticides and embalming fluids. The major sources of anthropogenic emissions of formaldehyde are motor vehicle exhaust, power plants, manufacturing plants that produce or use formaldehyde or substances that contain it (glues), petroleum refineries, coking operations, incinerating, wood burning and tobacco smoke..

This assessment will help determine the level of risk formaldehyde poses to Americans’ health. EPA undertook the assessment because there have been a number of potentially significant new studies published since its last review of formaldehyde toxicity.

The draft formaldehyde assessment will be reviewed by an expert panel convened by the National Academy of Sciences (NAS). EPA will consider all public comments on its draft and will use the guidance from the NAS as it completes its Integrated Risk Information System Health Assessment for Formaldehyde.

The agency will accept written comments on the draft assessment for 90 days after it appears in the Federal Register.

Comments on the assessment may be submitted and reviewed at www.regulations.gov. At the site, select Environmental Protection Agency and the key word EPA-HQ-ORD-2010-0396 (for the docket ID).

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