Formaldehyde was identified as a high-priority candidate chemical for TSCA risk evaluation. It is important to note that a designation of formaldehyde as a high-priority chemical “does not constitute a finding of risk” and should not be cause for concern. A high-priority designation simply means the EPA has nominated formaldehyde for risk evaluation.
In order to complete an accurate TSCA risk evaluation of formaldehyde, determining the levels at which formaldehyde from occupational, commercial and consumer exposures might cause adverse effects is critical. Central to this challenge is proper evaluation and integration of the entire body of scientific evidence, including human, animal and mechanistic information to draw conclusions regarding risk. This is done through a systematic review process, which is required by the 2016 TSCA amendments. A systematic review process is a pre-established set of protocols that comprehensively, objectively, transparently, and consistently identifies and evaluates evidence based on quality and relevance.
There are a number of recently completed, peer-reviewed studies that have meaningfully advanced the body of scientific evidence related to understanding formaldehyde produced by the body versus inhaled formaldehyde generated from other sources. Given the thousands of peer reviewed scientific articles that have been published, and dozens of chemical reviews that have been conducted by federal and international agencies, it is crucial for evaluations to rely upon the highest quality and most relevant information when determining risk.
If EPA follows the required science protocols in conducting a transparent risk evaluation of formaldehyde, using the best available, highest quality and most relevant data will demonstrate that the responsible uses of formaldehyde, and any potential exposures, continue to be properly managed.