Formaldehyde causes cancer

Saturday, 11 June, 2005

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has ruled that the common chemical formaldehyde is a carcinogen.

The IARC, part of the World Health Organisation, said there was sufficient evidence to show that formaldehyde caused cancer of the nose and mouth, which is relatively rare in developed countries. It said there was also strong but not sufficient evidence that leukaemia could be caused by formaldehyde, which is used in the production of resins used as adhesives and binders in the timber and paper industries.

Formaldehyde is also used in the production of plastics and coatings, in textile finishing, in the manufacture of industrial chemicals and as a disinfectant and preservative.

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