Formaldehyde

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Known Synonyms

Formaldahyde
FORMALDEIDE
Formaydehyde

Formaldehyde is a relatively uncommon cause of occupational asthma considering its widespread use. Between 1989 and 2010 Shield has 32 entries where formaldehyde is the most likely cause of occupational asthma. Much of the literature relates to passive exposure from indoor air where formaldehyde resins have been used in building construction. There are no cases of asthma reported with positive challenge tests in this situation. Formaldehyde  is a human carcinogen requiring exposures to be kept as low as reasonably practical and definitely below the maximal allowable concentration (MAC).

Agent Formaldehyde
Other Names
Formol
Sources of Exposure
Formaldehyde solution, formaldehyde containing resins (urea formaldehyde, phenol formaldehyde and melomine formaldehyde), foam insulation (for cavity walls) (Formaldehyde, 2-Butoxyethanol and 1-tert-Butoxypropan-2-ol).
Jobs Histopathology labs, embalming, disinfection, wood product manufacture, paper milling, textile milling, foundries (core making)
Epidemiological Studies

Air Measurements UK 2ppm MAC, lower in much of europe.
Specific IgE/ Skin prick test IgE to formaldehyde / HSA have been described but are generally unhelpful. Skin testing not available.
Biological Monitoring Formate has been measured in urine but not found to be informative (Monitoring of formic acid in urine of humans exposed to low levels of formaldehyde).
Specific Challenge 1% formaldehyde painted in a challenge chamber for 30 minutes gave 2.3mg/m3, 10% formaldehyde 4.8mg/m3 (Occupational asthma due to formaldehyde).
Early References
The practice of Allergy, Bronchial asthma and asthmatic bronchitis determined by simple chemicals
Substitutes


References for: Formaldehyde See published papers on "Formaldehyde" from this website.
Haz-Map information on: Formaldehyde See information on "Formaldehyde" from the HazMap (Information on Hazardous Chemicals and Occupational Diseases) website.
Asmanet information on: Formaldehyde See information on "Formaldehyde" from the AsmaPro website (database of occupational asthma cases).

Oasys Notifications for Formaldehyde

The Oasys Audit scheme started midway through 2010 and collects agents typed in through the Oasys program. The years before 2010 show old data entered during 2010 or later and are likely to have many fewer notifications. We expect Oasys to become more widely adopted as time goes by so increasing notifications does not necessarily mean an increasing problem.

Occupational asthma notifications to the Oasys Audit Scheme for Formaldehyde

Selected References for Formaldehyde

Abstract Available for Formaldehyde, 2-Butoxyethanol and 1-tert-Butoxypropan-2-ol World Health Organisation IARC Working group on the evaluation of carcinogenic risks to humans, Formaldehyde, 2-Butoxyethanol and 1-tert-Butoxypropan-2-ol, IARC Monographs on the evaluation of carcinogenic, 2006;88:1-439,

Abstract Available for Occupational asthma due to formaldehyde Burge PS, Harries MG, Lam WK, O'Brien IM, Patchett P, Occupational asthma due to formaldehyde, Thorax, 1985;40:255-260,
Sherwood Burge, Oasys, an author of 'Occupational asthma due to formaldehyde' Mark Harries, Brompton Hospital and Northwick Park, an author of 'Occupational asthma due to formaldehyde'

Abstract Available for Monitoring of formic acid in urine of humans exposed to low levels of formaldehyde Gottschling LM, Beaulieu HJ, Melvin WW., Monitoring of formic acid in urine of humans exposed to low levels of formaldehyde, Am Ind Hyg Assoc J, 1984;45:19-23,

No Abstract Available for Bronchial asthma and asthmatic bronchitis determined by simple chemicals Popa V, Tecelescu D, Stanescu D, Gavrilescu N, Bronchial asthma and asthmatic bronchitis determined by simple chemicals, Dis Chest, 1969;56:395-404,

Abstract Available for The practice of Allergy Vaughan WT, The practice of Allergy, St Louis: Mosby, 1939;-:677,

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