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HHS Moves Forward with Unfounded Classification of Formaldehyde


Contact: Bryan Goodman (202) 249-6510  
Email: Bryan_Goodman@americanchemistry.com

Department Ignores Recent Scientific Report

WASHINGTON, D.C. (June 10, 2011)The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) National Toxicology Program (NTP) today released the 12th Report on Carcinogens (12th RoC). The new report includes a chapter that lists formaldehyde as a “known human carcinogen.” The following statement about the 12th RoC can be attributed to Cal Dooley, President and CEO, American Chemistry Council.

“We are extremely disappointed that HHS has moved forward with listing formaldehyde in its 12th RoC as a ‘known human carcinogen.’ By doing so, HHS ignored the recently released, independent, peer-review report from the National Research Council, which strongly questioned whether the scientific evidence supports the claim of human carcinogen for leukemia. Also, the World Health Organization indicates that normal human exposures do not present a risk of cancer.

“Inclusion in the RoC does not mean that formaldehyde presents any risk to human health. In fact, NTP itself states, ‘…Listing in the report does not establish that such substances present a risk to persons in their daily lives.’

“Because formaldehyde is used in many products—from building materials to pharmaceuticals—this unscientific decision by HHS could risk thousands of U.S. jobs. That is why this decision by the department is such an egregious contradiction of President Obama’s pledge in a March 9, 2009, executive order that ‘Science and the scientific process must inform and guide decisions of my Administration…’”

About Formaldehyde

Formaldehyde is a simple chemical compound made of hydrogen, oxygen and carbon, with the formula CH2O. Because of their versatility, formaldehyde-based technologies are used to produce a wide range of materials for residential construction, auto manufacturing, civilian and military aircraft equipment and health care applications. Products derived from formaldehyde have an extremely broad role in the economy, impacting the employment of 600,000 U.S. workers and indirectly impacting an additional three million people.

Learn more about formaldehyde.

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