ACC Calls Upon EPA to Adopt NAS Findings in Risk Assessment

Contact: Bryan Goodman, 202-249-6510   

WASHINGTON, D.C. (April 8, 2011) – The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) today issued its peer-review report on the recently released Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) draft risk assessment on formaldehyde. EPA’s draft assessment attempts to determine the level at which formaldehyde presents a potential risk for adverse effects on human health. In response to the report, the American Chemistry Council issued the following statement, which can be attributed to Senior Director Ann M. Mason.

“We appreciate the thorough and comprehensive nature of the NAS report. The recommendations are consistent with the World Health Organization’s (WHO) guidelines on formaldehyde. We call upon EPA to adopt the NAS findings when revising the IRIS Risk Assessment for formaldehyde.

“The levels of formaldehyde at which most people are exposed are not high enough to cause adverse health effects, according to the large body of research available. In its draft assessment, EPA proposes setting a cancer risk value significantly below the levels that occur naturally in the environment. For example, WHO reports people produce formaldehyde in their bodies and exhale it in the range of less than 0.8 to 8 parts per billion. EPA’s proposed cancer risk value of 0.008 parts per billion would suggest that human breath poses an unacceptable risk of cancer; yet, experience and science tell us that couldn’t possibly be the case.

“Those interested in learning more about formaldehyde can find information at”

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.