Occupational Safety and Health Administration OSHA


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Hazard Recognition

Formaldehyde is classified as a human carcinogen. Short-term exposure to formaldehyde can be fatal. Long-term exposure to low levels of formaldehyde may cause respiratory difficulty, eczema, and sensitization. The following references aid in recognizing formaldehyde hazards in the workplace.

  • Formaldehyde. OSHA Fact Sheet, (April 2011). Provides information on the harmful effects of formaldehyde on workers and how employers can protect them.
  • Formaldehyde. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), (May 1994). Provides an Immediately Dangerous to Life or Health (IDLH) document that includes acute toxicity data for formaldehyde.
  • TOXNET for Formaldehyde. The National Library of Medicine Hazardous Substance Database.
  • Report on Carcinogens (RoC). U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), National Toxicology Program (NTP). Identifies and discusses agents, substances, mixtures, or exposure circumstances that may pose a health hazard due to their carcinogenicity. The listing of substances in the RoC only indicates a potential hazard and does not establish the exposure conditions that would pose cancer risks to individuals.
    • Formaldehyde. NTP classification: Known to be a human carcinogen.
  • International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) Monographs on the Evaluation of Carcinogenic Risks for Humans. World Health Organization (WHO).
    • Formaldehyde. IARC Classification: Carcinogenic to humans (Group 1).
  • Toxicological Profile for Formaldehyde. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), (July 1999). Provides exposure risks, exposure limits, and health effects for formaldehyde.
  • ToxFAQs™ for Formaldehyde. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), (September 2008). Answers the most frequently asked health questions about formaldehyde.
  • Formaldehyde (CASRN 50-00-0). Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS).
  • Formaldehyde. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Lists formaldehyde as a Hazardous Air Pollutant (HAP) under the National Emissions Standard Hazardous Air Pollutants section of its Clean Air Act.
  • Formaldehyde. New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services, Hazardous Substance Fact Sheet, (May 2009). Provides a summary source of information of all potent
  • ial and most severe health hazards that may result from formaldehyde exposure.
  • An Update on Formaldehyde. U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), (Revised 2013). Discusses formaldehyde and its health hazards using non-technical terminology. Discusses why formaldehyde is a concern, sources of exposure, and what levels are normal.
  • Formaldehyde. California Department of Health Services, Hazard Evaluation System and Information Service (HESIS), (January 2003). Describes the adverse effects of formaldehyde and how to avoid them.
  • International Chemical Safety Cards (ICSC). National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). Summarizes essential health and safety information.
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