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                        Massachusetts Chemical Fact Sheet
This fact sheet is part of a series of chemical fact sheets developed by              FORMALDEHYDE FACTS
TURI to help Massachusetts companies, community organizations and
residents understand the chemical’s use and health and environmental                  Chemical Formula               CH2O
effects, as well as the availability of safer alternatives. Since Massachusetts
                                                                                      CAS Number                     50-00-0
companies report usage under the Toxics Use Reduction Act, readers will
learn how the chemicals are being used and by which companies.                                                       Formaldehyde is a gas at room
                                                                                      Vapor Pressure
Profoundly simple, inexpensive and useful, formaldehyde
is found in many products, including resins and adhesives,                                                           Very soluble in water and polar solvents;
permanent press fabric treatments, tissue preservatives,                                                             up to 55% soluble in freshwater at 20 °C
lawn fertilizers, cosmetics and disinfectants. Formaldehyde                           Flammability                   Extremely flammable
has been linked to cancer in humans and may cause adverse
reproductive outcomes.                                                                                               Colorless gas at room temperature
                                                                                      Description                    with a strong, irritating odor. Often in
Off-gassed from construction products and released by                                                                solution as formalin.
manufacturing facilities and combustion sources, formaldehyde is
almost ubiquitous at low levels in both indoor and outdoor air. It is                    nasopharyngeal cancer and leukemia.
often targeted as a cause of health complaints associated with “sick
building syndrome,” such as respiratory irritation and headaches.                     •	 Repeated prolonged exposures may result in sensitization of
                                                                                         individuals, who are then more likely to experience contact
In 2005, Massachusetts companies used more than 3.5 million                              dermatitis and asthma attacks.
pounds of formaldehyde.
                                                                                      •	 Formaldehyde exposure is a potential reproductive hazard,
                                                                                         associated with increased incidence of menstrual disorders
Hazards                                                                                  and pregnancy problems.

Formaldehyde is classified as an irritant. Because it is highly
                                                                                    Exposure Routes
reactive, water soluble and rapidly metabolized, people may
                                                                                    The primary route of exposure is through inhalation. Occupational
experience toxic, irritating and sensitizing effects at the site of
                                                                                    and consumer exposure can, however, also include dermal
contact. Inhaled formaldehyde is readily absorbed by the upper
                                                                                    exposure, especially to formaldehyde in solution.
respiratory tract and is rapidly metabolized by almost every cell in
the body.
                                                                                    Worker Health
                                                                                    The primary sources of occupational exposure to formaldehyde are:
Acute (Short-Term) Health Effects
   •	 Primary acute effects from formaldehyde exposure are                              •	 Industrial production (resins, molding compounds, fertilizer,
      irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat and skin.                                   paper, wood products, furniture, laminates, plastics, pesticides,
                                                                                           chemical manufacture, rubber, leather tanning, iron foundries,
   •	 Skin contact results in severe irritation and burns and some                         photographic film, textiles, scientific supply and cosmetics)
      formaldehyde may pass through the skin.
                                                                                        •	 Agriculture (sugar production, grain and seed preservation)
   •	 When inhaled, formaldehyde causes narrowing of the bronchi
      resulting in coughing, wheezing, chest pains, and bronchitis. At                  •	 Oil extraction (well-drilling fluids)
      high levels, formaldehyde can cause fluid build-up in the lungs                   •	 Funerary work (embalming fluid)
      and can result in death.
                                                                                        •	 Hospitals, laboratories and schools (preserved tissue and
Chronic (Long-Term) Health Effects                                                         specimens)
  •	 The U.S. EPA classifies formaldehyde as a Group B1 probable                        •	 Construction (manufactured wood products)
     human carcinogen. The International Agency for Research
     on Cancer (IARC) upgraded it to a Group 1 carcinogen in                            •	 Transportation and energy (product of combustion)
     2004, indicating that there is sufficient evidence that it is a
                                                                                        •	 Beauty salons (sanitizer and cosmetics)
     human carcinogen. Studies of funerary and other workers
     exposed to formaldehyde found increased risk of lung and
     The Toxics Use Reduction Institute is a research, education, and policy center established by the Massachusetts Toxics Use Reduction Act of 1989.
                            University	of	Massachusetts	Lowell	•	One	University	Avenue	•	Lowell,	Massachusetts		01854-2866
                                                Ph:		(978)	934-3275	•	Fax:		(978)	934-3050	•	Web:     Printed on 100% post-consumer recycled paper

Public Health                                                                The primary uses of formaldehyde are the manufacture of
A widely used chemical, especially in building products, and a               formaldehyde-based resins and as an intermediary in the
byproduct of combustion, formaldehyde is ubiquitous in urban areas           manufacture of chemicals, plastics, and controlled-release
and buildings at low levels.                                                 fertilizers. Wood adhesives used to make plywood, particleboard
                                                                             and other manufactured wood products are the dominant end
   •	Formaldehyde is regarded as a common indoor air contaminant.            use	of	formaldehyde,	accounting	for	64%	of	the	total	worldwide	
     Contained in many construction products and home furnishings            consumption in 2003. Formaldehyde resins can be grouped into
     (including plywood, particleboard, medium density fiberboard,           two main categories: phenolic resins and amino resins (e.g., urea-
     oriented strand board, insulation, carpets, other flooring, and         formaldehyde and melanine-formaldehyde). Phenol-formaldehyde
     related adhesives), unreacted formaldehyde off-gasses into              resins are used in plywood, varnishes, laminates and foam insulation.
     the air. Off-gassing is highest for new products and decreases          Amino resins are used in plywood, particle board, and medium
     over time. Tobacco smoke is another source of formaldehyde              density fiberboard (for use in cabinets and furniture).
     exposure in indoor environments.
                                                                             Formaldehyde is an intermediary chemical in the manufacture of
   •	Manufacturing facilities and combustion devices are major
                                                                             several commercially important chemicals, including 1,4-butanediol
     sources of formaldehyde in outdoor air. Combustion sources
                                                                             (used to make polyurethane and spandex® fibers), methylene
     include automobiles, power plants, incinerators, and refineries
                                                                             diisocyanate (MDI is a common substitute for formaldehyde in wood
     which create formaldehyde as a byproduct of incomplete
                                                                             adhesives) and amino polycarboxylic acids (e.g., EDTA), which are
                                                                             used in cosmetics, pesticides and textile coatings. Other end uses of
   •	Formaldehyde is formed when sunlight breaks down ozone and              formaldehyde include embalming agents, gasoline stabilizers, drying
     nitrogen oxides, and is therefore found in smog in the lower            agents, preservatives in cosmetics, and biocides in metal machining
     atmosphere.                                                             fluids.
   •	Consumer products such as antiseptics, medicines, cosmetics,
     dishwashing liquids, permanent-press clothing, fabric softeners,          Massachusetts experienced an overall 64%
     shoe-care agents, carpet cleaners, glues and adhesives, lacquers,         reduction in the use of formaldehyde from 1990
     paper and plastics may contain formaldehyde.                              to 2005
Environmental Fate                                                             •	 In 2005, Massachusetts’ facilities reported using over 3.5 million
Formaldehyde is a natural component of the environment and the                    pounds of formaldehyde under the Toxics Use Reduction Act
human body. It biodegrades readily in air, water and soil, under                  (TURA) (see Table 1).
both aerobic and anaerobic conditions. In the air, formaldehyde                •	 Four companies accounted for over 90% of Massachusetts’
breaks down in sunlight to form carbon monoxide and formic acids,                 publicly reportable formaldehyde use in 2005: Borden &
a component of acid rain. It is not commonly found in drinking                    Remington (chemical distributor and manufacturer of aqueous
water and only in limited quantities in foods such as cheeses and                 dispersants), The Dodge Company (manufacturer of embalming
grains where it occurs naturally and is also added to kill pathogens.             agents), Raytor Compounds, Inc. (formerly Perstorp Compounds,
Formaldehyde is not bioaccumulative.                                              a manufacturer of urea- and melamine formaldehyde resins for
(For section references, see endnote #1.)                                         molding dinnerware, medical products, and household fixtures)
                                                                                  and Rohm & Haas Electronic Materials (manufacturer of specialty
                                                                                  chemicals for use in printed wiring board fabrication and surface
Use Nationally and in                                                             finishing).

Massachusetts                                                                  •	 One Massachusetts manufacturer, Solutia, Inc. in Springfield,
                                                                                  claims trade secret when reporting formaldehyde use. Therefore,
                                                                                  no information about that chemical is included in the publicly-
Formaldehyde is a basic building block chemical and it finds its way,
                                                                                  available TURA database or in total quantities in this factsheet.
either directly or in derivative chemicals, into almost all sectors of the
                                                                                  Information regarding Solutia’s releases and off-site transfers
economy and thousands of products. Formaldehyde’s readiness to
                                                                                  is publicly available under the U.S. Environmental Protection
polymerize makes it ideal for the production of durable resins in wet
                                                                                  Agency (EPA) Toxics Release Inventory (TRI).
environments. Most formaldehyde is sold as formalin, an aqueous
solution of formaldehyde with some methanol. While available and               •	 Other Massachusetts users of formaldehyde include the
used in a variety of concentrations, formaldehyde is most commonly                electronics and paper and fabric coating industries. Electronics
used in 37% formalin solutions.                                                   manufacturers use formaldehyde in the production of printed
                                                                                  wiring boards. Manufacturers of coated fabrics and paper
U.S. manufacturers’ consumption is relatively stable at about 10                  products use formaldehyde-based chemicals in coating,
billion pounds of formaldehyde a year. Because of formaldehyde’s                  laminating, and treating applications. Formaldehyde is also
chemical properties which inhibit long range export, U.S.                         incidentally produced and released by electricity generation
formaldehyde production closely tracks U.S. consumption.                          facilities.
Page 2                                                                                                               Toxics Use Reduction Institute

 Table 1. Massachusetts Formaldehyde Consumption by Industry Sector (1990 – 2005)

                                                                                                       Use (pounds)
 Industry Sector                     Facility Name                               Location
                                                                                                       1990               2005
                                     Borden & Remington                          Fall River            0                  100,596
                                     Monson Companies Inc                        Leominster            26,385             0
 Chemicals and Chemical Products
                                     The Dodge Company                           Cambridge             1,300,000          654,382
                                     WR Grace & Company                          Acton                 45,799             0
                   Fabric Coating    Lewcott Corporation                         Millbury              0                  49,984
 Coating and
 Laminating        Paper Coating     National Coating Corporation                Rockland              10,258             0
 Applications      and Laminating    Printed Circuit Corporation                 Woburn                13,096             0
                                     Crane & Co Inc Pioneer Mill                 Dalton                53,366             0
                                     Hollingsworth & Vose Company                West Groton           16,000             0
 Paper Mills                         MW Custom Papers LLC - Laurel Mill          Lee                   0                  56,444
                                     MW Custom Papers, LLC - Willow Mill         South Lee             0                  56,940
                                     PWA Rollan Decor Inc                        Fitchburg             108,000            0
                                     Altron                                      Wilmington            24,450             0
 Electronic Components and           Rohm & Haas Electronic Materials LLC        Marlborough           586,000            370,700
 Printed Circuit Boards              Bull HN Information Systems                 Boston                12,000             0
                                     Sanmina SCI Corporation                     Wilmington            0                  0
                                     Hercules Inc                                Chicopee              606,180            0
                                     Raytor Compounds, Inc. (formerly
                                                                                 Florence              6,241,211          2,056,715
                                     Perstorp Compounds, Inc)
 Plastics, Resins and Abrasives
                                     Specialty Polymers                          Leominster            84,150             0
                                     FAPL Inc                                    Worcester             47,286             0
                                     Tyrolit North America Inc                   Westborough           10,742             0

 Electric and Gas Production/        Boston Generating Mystic LLC                Charlestown           0                  31,756
 Distribution                        Hopkinton LNG Facility                      Hopkinton             0                  15,580

 Total Formaldehyde Use                                                                                9,184,923          3,525,335

Table 1 summarizes the uses of formaldehyde in Massachusetts            Between 1990 and 1991 The Dodge Company experienced a one-
from 1990 to 2005. Between 1990 and 2005, use of formaldehyde in        time 12.45 million pounds reduction in processing. Dodge then
Massachusetts dropped by almost 5.7 million pounds.                     steadily increased its production of formaldehyde by an overall
                                                                        25% from 1991 to 2005.
The most significant change occurred between 1992 and 1993,
when Raytor Compounds, Inc (then Perstorp Compounds)                    Borden & Remington, who uses formaldehyde as a dispersant and
decreased its formaldehyde use by 3.5 million pounds, after which       also repackages formaldehyde for resale, began operations in
manufacture of formaldehyde remained fairly constant. Raytor’s          1991. In 1998 B&R experienced a dramatic reduction in the use of
overall change from 1990 to 2005 was a decrease of 4.2 million          formaldehyde, reducing its reportable amounts from slightly over 1
pounds.                                                                 million	pounds	in	1997	to	607,550	pounds	in	1998.

Page 3                                                                                                        Toxics Use Reduction Institute

Figure 1 illustrates the percent changes in use by industry sector.                                    manufactured	or	processed	was	reduced	by	64%;	the	amount	of	
                                                                                                       formaldehyde that was otherwise used, however, increased almost
                     Figure 1. Percent Change in Formaldehyde Use by Industry Sector                   five-fold. The amount shipped in product over the same time period
                                            from 1990 to 2005
                                                                                                       was reduced by 85% while the amount of byproduct generated went
                                                           Paper Coating and Laminating
                                                                                                       down by less than 30%.
                                                           Plastics, Resins and Abrasives
                                                           Chemicals and Chemical Products             Raytor Compounds and The Dodge Company together shipped
                                                           Paper Mills                                 almost	6.8	million	fewer	pounds	of	formaldehyde	in	product	in	2005	
                                                           Electronic Components and Printed Circuit
                                                                                                       than in 1990. The majority of that reduction coincides with each
                                                           Fabric Coating                              company’s dramatic decrease in formaldehyde processing in the
                                                           Electric and Gas Production/Distribution    early 1990s.
                                                                                                       Raytor alone reduced its generation of formaldehyde byproduct by
                                                                                                       95%,	or	66,400	pounds,	between	1990	and	2005.		
                                                                                                       In 1991, its first reportable year of operations, Bordon & Remington
-100%                -80%   -60%   -40%    -20%     0%     20%      40%      60%      80%      100%
                                                                                                       reported 1.2 million pounds of formaldehyde shipped in product and
                                                                                                       13,800 pounds generated as byproduct. By 2005 B&R had reduced
As shown in Figure 1, increases in use of formaldehyde between                                         both	these	numbers	significantly	–	shipping	only	100,600	pounds	in	
1990 and 2005 are related to the fabric coating and electricity                                        product, and generating no formaldehyde as byproduct.
generation industry sectors. Lewcott Corporation, the only fabric
                                                                                                       A major reporter of formaldehyde byproduct generation in 2005 was
coater reporting formaldehyde use in Massachusetts, had not used
                                                                                                       the MW Custom Papers company (formerly Mead Paper Corporation).
reportable amounts of formaldehyde in 1990. It began reporting
                                                                                                       Its two facilities began operations in 1995, at which point they
in 1993 and showed a 40% increase in use from 1993 to 2005.
                                                                                                       reported	an	aggregate	of	136,000	pounds	of	byproduct	generated.		
Electricity generating facilities were not required to report in 1990.
                                                                                                       MW Custom Papers reduced its use of formaldehyde and associated
The first reports for this industry sector occurred in 1998. There was
                                                                                                       generation of byproduct by approximately 17% from 1995 to 2005.
a 70% increase in formaldehyde manufacture (as a byproduct of
combustion) by this sector from 1998 to 2005.                                                          A significant contributor to the amount of byproduct generated in
                                                                                                       1990 was PWA Rollan Décor, Inc. who reported 71,500 pounds. This
The change from 1990 to 2005 in absolute amount of inputs and                                          company, however, no longer reported after 1992.
outputs in Massachusetts is shown in Figure 2. Inputs include
formaldehyde that is manufactured or processed, as well as                                             (For section references, see endnote #2.
formaldehyde that is “otherwise used” – ancillary uses that do not
become incorporated into the final product. Outputs include
formaldehyde that is generated as byproduct (i.e., all non-product                                     Alternative Manufacturing
material created by a process line prior to release, on-site treatment,
or transfer) and the amount that is shipped in or as product.                                          Processes
                 Figure 2. Inputs and Outputs of Formaldehyde -                                        Manufacture of Phenolic Resins
                       Comparison of 1990 and 2005 Data                                                Alternative methods for manufacturing phenolic resins include
                                                                                                       enzymatic water-based polymerization processes (based on
                                                                                                       horseradish peroxidase and soy peroxidase) and pyrolysis of biomass.
                 9                                                                    Otherwise
                                                                                      Used             TURI’s Sustainability Research Fellows program has funded research
                                                                                                       into the control of hydrogen peroxide (an enzymatic inhibitor) in the
Million Pounds

                                                                                      Manufactured     horseradish peroxidase process. The soy peroxidase enzyme can be
                 6                                                                    or Processed
                 5                                                                                     used to manufacture a variety of phenolic resins. These systems can
                 4                                                                    Byproducts       result in decreased processing time and increased yield.
                                                                                                       The National Renewable Energy Laboratory of the U.S. Department
                 2                                                                    Shipped in
                 1                                                                    Product
                                                                                                       of Energy has researched the use of pyrolysis (rapid heating in the
                                                                                                       absence of oxygen) of agricultural and forestry wastes to produce
                     Input 1990    Input 2005     Output 1990 Output 2005                              phenolic resins. This process is predicted to cost half as much as the
                                                                                                       current process.
As shown in Figure 2, both inputs and outputs have been
significantly reduced overall in the Commonwealth from 1990 to
2005. Specifically, from 1990 to 2005 the amount of formaldehyde

Page 4                                                                                                                                        Toxics Use Reduction Institute

Printed Wiring Boards                                                   formaldehyde. Respecting personal choice and religious custom,
In the manufacture of printed wiring boards, it is necessary to make    embalming may not be necessary depending on the funeral
through-holes conductive. The most common process to accomplish         arrangements.
this is the formaldehyde-containing electroless copper process.
                                                                        Concern for mortuary workers’ exposures to formaldehyde has
Formaldehyde acts as a reducing agent in the process.
                                                                        prompted research into alternative embalming chemicals. Ethyl
The U.S. EPA, through its Design for the Environment Printed Wiring     alcohol/polyethylene glycol, glutaraldehyde and phenoxyethanol
Board Project, has evaluated the technical, environmental and           are alternatives to formaldehyde, although these may possess other
financial performance of alternatives to the formaldehyde-containing    worker health and safety concerns.
electroless copper process. Carbon, graphite, organic-palladium, tin-
                                                                        Formaldehyde is also used to preserve biological specimens in
palladium, electroless copper using sodium hypophosphite as the
                                                                        secondary school and university teaching and research laboratories.
reducing agent, and conductive polymer technologies have been
evaluated. These technologies have proven viable and have been          One study funded by the U.S. EPA in the Burlington, Mass. public school
implemented for their lower operating costs in addition to their        system found that formaldehyde in the air of science laboratories
environmental benefits. However, lack of capital, information and       may have routinely exceeded permissible exposure limits and that
confidence in these alternatives has hampered their adoption.           the laboratories lacked sufficient ventilation. Less toxic alternatives
                                                                        are readily available from scientific supply vendors. Alternatives to
Other Processes                                                         formaldehyde preservation of specimens that best replicate the
Formaldehyde resins have been used to improve the wrinkle               technical specifications of formaldehyde-preserved specimens for
resistance of garments. However, due to the formaldehyde off-gassing    educational purposes include various formaldehyde-free solutions
and emission issues, replacements such as glyoxal resins, butane        (e.g., propylene glycol, diazolidinyl urea and glutaraldehyde) and
tetracarboxylic acid, sodium hypophosphite, and polymeric carboxylic    video/virtual dissection.
acid/citric acid are being investigated.
                                                                        Building Materials
In many surface coating applications, alternatives to formaldehyde-
                                                                        Traditionally, formaldehyde has been a component of the resins used
containing resins have been developed in an effort to comply with
                                                                        in many building materials. As far back as the 1970s, the off-gassing
the Clean Air Act Amendments. These include water-based, ultraviolet-
                                                                        of formaldehyde from these products, particularly foam insulation
cured and electron beam-cured systems.
                                                                        and medium density fiberboard, caused concern. During the last 30
Product Alternatives                                                    years manufacturers have developed many low formaldehyde and
TURI conducted an assessment of alternatives to formaldehyde            formaldehyde-free products.
as	part	of	its	2006	“Five	Chemicals	Alternatives	Assessment	Study”		    Alternatives to formaldehyde-bearing fiberglass insulation include
TURI evaluated alternatives to formaldehyde for three priority uses:    plastic foams, rock wool, cellulose and cotton. Cellulose insulation is
sanitary storage in barbering and cosmetology, preserved educational    made from 75%-85% post-consumer recycled newsprint and is treated
specimens for dissection, and building panels. This and other studies   with relatively benign borate compounds to provide fire retardancy
of alternatives are drawn on for information in this section.           and pest and mold resistance. Studies show that this insulation type
                                                                        has similar or greater insulating capacities to traditional fiberglass
Sanitary Storage in Barbering/Cosmetology                               insulation, with improved fire retardancy and significantly reduced
The Massachusetts Board of Cosmetology currently requires that “dry
                                                                        human health concerns when installed properly.
sanitizer” be used in drawers where hair brushes are kept. This dry
sanitizer is para-formaldehyde, a solid form of formaldehyde.           Alternative building materials include those made from non-wood
                                                                        sources (e.g., recycled paper, wood fiber-Portland cement blend,
According to the National Interstate Council (NIC) of State Boards
                                                                        rammed earth, metal, stone and brick) or solid wood. Agricultural fiber
of Cosmetology, formaldehyde-based dry sterilants are not
                                                                        alternatives can come from crops grown specifically for fiber (e.g.,
recommended. The NIC recommends best practices to assure that
                                                                        kenaf and bagasse) and residues of crops grown for other purposes
implements be properly cleaned and disinfected using EPA-registered
                                                                        (e.g., corn stalks/cobs and cotton stalks).
disinfectants, and subsequently stored in disinfected, dry, covered
containers to assure isolation from contaminants.                       Pressed wood alternatives include those labeled “formaldehyde-free”
                                                                        or “low-emitting” or those made from phenol-formaldehyde (such as
One alternative method is the use of ultraviolet light sanitizing
                                                                        oriented strand board, softwood plywood or exterior grade plywood)
cabinets. However this is less effective for brushes. In addition, UV
                                                                        generally emit lower levels of formaldehyde.
exposures are possible if the cabinets are misused or damaged.
                                                                        Hardwood plywood and softwood plywood or oriented strand board
Embalming and Tissue Preservation                                       can be manufactured using alternative adhesives, such as the soy-
Embalming is a mortuary custom of temporarily preserving bodies         based resin currently being developed for wood panel applications by
after death, generally by the use of chemical substances and most       Columbia Forest Products.
often in the U.S. and Canada by the use of solutions containing
                                                                        (For section references, see endnote #3.)
Page 5                                                                                                          Toxics Use Reduction Institute

Regulatory Context                                                      chemical-profiles/summary.tcl?edf_substanc_
                                                                                 id=+50-00-0); Environmental Health Center (EHC is a division of
Formaldehyde is regulated as a human carcinogen, and classified as               the National Safety Council), 2002,“IAQ Factsheet: Formaldehyde”
either a probably, potential or likely human carcinogen by IARC, OSHA,           (Washington, D.C.: EHC; see webpage:
NIOSH and EPS’s National Toxicology Program.                                     formald.htm); Hazardous Substances Data Bank “Formaldehyde” –
                                                                                 see webpage:
The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA),                   temp/~llYS59:1; International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC),
U.S. EPA, and Consumer Product Safety Commission regulate                        2004,“Formaldehyde, 2-Butoxyethanol and 1-tert-Butoxy-2 propanol;
formaldehyde.                                                                                                                   ,
                                                                                 Summary of Data Reported nad Evaluation”World Health Organization,
                                                                                 Geneva; Richard J. Lewis, Sr. (ed.), 1993, Hazardous Chemicals Desk
   •	The OSHA permissible exposures limit (PEL) for an eight-hour
                                                                                 Reference (third edition) (New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold); Litelplo, et
      workshift for formaldehyde is 0.75 ppm and the short-term                                            ,
                                                                                 al,, 2002,“Formaldehyde”World Health Organization, Geneva; Toxics Use
      exposure limit (STEL) — not to be exceeded during any 15-minute            Reduction	Institute	“Five	Chemicals	Alternatives	Assessment	Study”	2006	
      work period—is 2 ppm. Employers must take action to protect                – see webpage: industry/research/five_chemicals_
      employees if exposures reach 0.5 ppm for 8 hours. The NIOSH                study; U.S. EPA, Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards, 2000,
      recommended	eight-hour	exposure	limit	(REL)	is	0.016	ppm	and	              “Formaldehyde” (Washington, D.C.: U.S. EPA—see webpage: http://www.
      the STEL is 0.1 ppm.                                              ); U.S. EPA, Office of Research
   •	Formaldehyde is identified as a hazardous and toxic chemical in             and Development, 1988, Health and Environmental Effects Profile for
      all media by the U.S. EPA.                                                 Formaldehyde	(EPA/600/x-85/362)	(Cincinnati,	Ohio:	EPA)
         •	 It is classified as both a Hazardous Air Pollutant (HAP) and a       2 Stanford Research Institute (SRI) International, 1997, Chemical
            regulated toxic, explosive, or flammable substance under the         Economics Handbook,“Formaldehyde” (Palo Alto, California: SRI);
            Clean Air Act.                                                       Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MA DEP), 2000,
                •	 Formaldehyde emitted from combustion turbines is              “Mass. TUR Act Chemical Reporting Data” (Boston: MA DEP). Toxics Use
                   subject to the Maximum Achievable Control Technology          Reduction	Institute	“Five	Chemicals	Alternatives	Assessment	Study”	2006	
                                                                                 – see webpage:
                   (MACT) standards for these devices under the Clean Air
                   Act. This MACT standard limits formaldehyde emissions,
                   depending on the type of device, to between 580 ppb to        3 Alpert, A (2004),“Milady’s Standard: Cosmetology” Milady Publishing
                   350 ppm.                                                      Company, Clifton Park, NY; National Safety Council Environmental
                                                                                 Health Center,“Formaldehyde,” (Washington, D. C.: National Safety
                •	 A second MACT standard relating to formaldehyde is
                                                                                 Council – see webpage: );
                   associated with the production of amino/phenolic resins.
                                                                                 U.S. EPA, 1998,“Alternative Technologies for Making Holes Conductive:
                   This rule establishes emission limits or control efficiency   Cleaner Technologies for Printed Wiring Board Manufacturers,”
                   requirements for several emission points: reactor             EPA/744-R-98- 002, (Washington, D.C.: U.S. EPA – see webpage: http://
                   batch process vents, non-reactor batch process vents, pwb/pdf/ctsawire.pdf); Massachusetts
                   continuous process vents, storage tanks, equipment leaks,     Toxics Use Reduction Institute (MA TURI),“Formaldehyde Use Reduction
                   and heat exchange systems.                                    in Mortuaries,” 1994, (Lowell, MA: TURI); U.S. EPA,“A Case Study of
         •	 Federal drinking water guidelines are for no more than 1,000         Environmental, Health and Safety Issues Involving the Burlington,
            g/l formaldehyde.                                                    Massachusetts Public School System: Formaldehyde,” (Washington, D.C.:
         •	 Formaldehyde is classified as an extremely hazardous                 U.S. EPA – see webpage:; Institute
            substance under CERCLA (Superfund).                                  for Local Self- Reliance, 1992,“The Carbohydrate Economy,” (Washington,
                                                                                 D.C.: Institute for Local Self-Reliance; JER Envirotech Ltd – see webpage:
         •	 It is classified as a “registered pesticide” under the Federal;	
            Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act                          Wei, Weishu and Charles Yang, 2000 “Polymeric Carboxylic Acid and Citric
         •	 According to the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act,             Acid as a Nonformaldehyde DP Finish,” Textile Chemist and Colorist,
            formaldehyde-bearing wastes must be handled as hazardous             (Research Triangle Park, NC: American Association of Textile Chemists
            waste.                                                               and Colorists) Vol. 32, No. 2, February 2000; Fisette, P (2005),“Cellulose
    •	The Consumer Product Safety Commission, under authority of                                                ,
                                                                                 Insulation - A Smart Choice” Building Materials and Wood Technology
      the federal Hazardous Substances Act, requires all household               Department, University of Massachusetts Amherst - see webpage: http://
      products with 1% or more formaldehyde to bear a warning label.   
                                                                                 html; University Research in Sustainable Technologies program of the
(For section references, see endnote #4.)                                        Toxic Use Reduction Institute – see webpage:

                                                                                 industry/research/ university_research_in_sustainable_technologies to
                                                                                 learn more; Toxics Use Reduction Institute “Five Chemicals Alternatives
1 Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, 1999,                        Assessment	Study”	2006	–	see	webpage:
“ToxFAQs:Formaldehyde, CAS #50-00-0” US Dept of Public Health,
                                      ,                                          research/five_chemicals_study
Public Health Service; Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), 1999,                   4 EDF, 1999; and SRI International, 1997 (see endnotes #1 & #2) Version 2
“Chemical Profile: Formaldehyde” (New York: EDF; see webpage: http://                                                            revised November 2007

Page	6	                                                                                                                   Toxics	Use	Reduction	Institute

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