A new report from the National Research Council (US) has upheld the listing of formaldehyde as “known to be a human carcinogen” in the National Toxicology Program (NTP) 12th Report on Carcinogens (RoC).
The listing is supported by sufficient evidence from human studies that indicate a causal relationship between exposure to the chemical and at least one type of human cancer according to the report. The committee that wrote the report reached the same conclusion after conducting a peer review of the RoC as well as an independent assessment of the formaldehyde literature.
Many people are exposed to formaldehyde either through environmental sources such as combustion processes and tobacco smoke, or in occupational settings that include the furniture, textile, and construction industries. Formaldehyde is also produced naturally by human cells. In 1981 formaldehyde was first listed by NTP as “reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen”. 2011 it was declared as “known carcinogen” by RoC.
According to the report the committee considered human, animal, and mechanistic studies published through November 8, 2013 that focused on nasopharyngeal cancer, sinonasal cancer, and myeloid leukemia.
Sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity in human and animal studies was found and “convincing relevant information” that formaldehyde induces mechanistic events associated with the development of cancer in humans. The committee concluded that formaldehyde should be listed in the RoC as “known to be a human carcinogen.”