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Failure to Consider Best Available Science Cause for Concern

WASHINGTON (March 20, 2016) – The American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) voted to adopt lower recommended occupational exposure levels for formaldehyde, known as threshold limit values (TLVs). In response to this decision, the American Chemistry Council’s (ACC) Formaldehyde Panel issued the following statement:

“The ACC Formaldehyde Panel disagrees with ACGIH’s decision to lower its recommended occupational exposure levels for formaldehyde. ACGIH failed to consider the best available science and wasn’t transparent about its scientific evaluation process. The most recent scientific literature does not support lowering these TLVs. Just last year, the European Union Scientific Committee for Occupational Exposure Limits (SCOEL) reaffirmed its support for Occupational Exposure Limits (OELs) for formaldehyde of 0.3 ppm for 8-hour time-weighted average and 0.6 ppm for Short Term Exposure Limit, well above ACGIH’s recommended levels. SCOEL’s evaluation was based on the most up-to-date human, animal and mode of action research.

“In addition, the ACGIH TLV review process offered limited opportunities for stakeholder engagement and provided no opportunity for outside experts to participate. Its documentation provides no context for how the numerical TLVs were derived based on the studies cited and gives no consideration to economic or technical feasibility.

“Formaldehyde plays an integral role in a wide variety of industrial applications across the automotive, aviation, textile, energy, and building and construction sectors. It has been extensively studied, reviewed and regulated by the federal government. Current standards, such as the OSHA Formaldehyde Standard, 29 C.F.R. § 1910.1048, protect the health of millions of workers and provide more than adequate workplace controls for the production, storage, handling, and use of this important chemical. Lowering the TLVs with no transparent or objective scientific justification may lead to unnecessary and expensive installation of engineering controls without any worker health or safety benefits.”

To learn more, please visit americanchemistry.com/formaldehyde.

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