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HHS Report on Carcinogens (RoC)

The US Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) National Toxicology Program (NTP) released its 12th Report on Carcinogens (RoC) in June 2011. It concluded that formaldehyde can cause leukemia, and listed formaldehyde as a known human carcinogen.  See NTP 12th Report on Carcinogens.

In the prior RoC, formaldehyde was listed as a “reasonably anticipated” human carcinogen based on limited evidence in humans of increased incidences of nasopharyngeal cancers in exposed workers. Leukemia had never been cited in prior RoCs  as a basis for listing formaldehyde.  The new RoC links formaldehyde both to leukemia as well as nasopharyngeal cancers.  This listing was published notwithstanding the opposition of the American Chemistry Council’s (ACC) Formaldehyde Panel, along with opposition from AF&PA, the American Wood Council, CPA and others who urged NTP to take into consideration the National Academy of Science (NAS) findings on formaldehyde.

The issue now is how others will use this new NTP report, and whether it will (or won’t) impact current or prospective regulation of the composite wood panel and other industries. 

Background

In June 2010, a formaldehyde assessment by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) drew a connection between formaldehyde and leukemia. In April 2011, a NAS panel released a report on this EPA assessment, disagreeing with many of EPA’s findings.  See NAS Release on EPA Assessment.

NAS argued that EPA did not provide an adequate  scientific basis for concluding that there is a causal link between formaldehyde exposure and leukemia.  EPA must take this into account in revising its report.  Notably, NTP and NAS used the same studies, reports and data, to reach their respective – and different – conclusions. 
 

American Chemistry Council Health Effects Information

The American Chemistry Council (ACC) publishes numerous facts on formaldehyde. See ACC Formaldehyde Fact Sheet

 

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