Formaldehyde cancer symptoms


Formaldehyde is a colorless, strong-smelling gas used in making building materials and many household products. It is used in pressed-wood products, such as particleboard, plywood, and fiberboard; glues and adhesives; permanent-press fabrics; paper product coatings; and certain insulation materials.

It is also used to make other chemicals. Formaldehyde is quickly broken down in the air — generally within hours. It dissolves easily in water, but does not last long there, either.

When dissolved in water it is called formalinwhich is commonly used as an industrial disinfectant, and as a preservative in funeral homes and medical labs. It can also be used as a preservative in some foods and in products, such as antiseptics, medicines, and cosmetics. Sometimes, although formaldehyde is not used, substances that release formaldehyde are. These have been found in cosmetics, soaps, shampoos, lotions and sunscreens, and cleaning products. Formaldehyde can be added as a preservative to food, but it can also be produced as the result of cooking and smoking.

formaldehyde cancer symptoms

Formaldehyde also occurs naturally in the environment. Humans and most other living organisms make small amounts as part of normal metabolic processes. The main way people are exposed to formaldehyde is by inhaling it. The liquid form can be absorbed through the skin. People can also be exposed to small amounts by eating foods or drinking liquids containing formaldehyde.

Formaldehyde is normally made in the body. Enzymes in the body break down formaldehyde into formate formic acidwhich can be further broken down into carbon dioxide. Most inhaled formaldehyde is broken down by the cells lining the mouth, nose, throat, and airways, so that less than a third is absorbed into the blood.

Materials containing formaldehyde can release it as a gas or vapor into the air. Automobile exhaust is a major source of formaldehyde in outdoor air. During the s, urea-formaldehyde foam insulation UFFI was used in many homes.Formaldehyde poisoning is a serious condition, which calls for urgent medical intervention. This condition can produce a number of signs and symptoms, which are discussed in this article. Formaldehyde is an organic compound with numerous industrial uses.

Industrially, it is produced from the oxidation of methanol. At room temperature, it is a gas, which can be converted into a number of derivatives for industrial uses. Formaldehyde is colorless and flammable, and it can be found in a number of products, where it can be labeled as methanal, methyl aldehyde, phenol formaldehyde, methylene oxide, oxymethylene, oxomethane, formalin, or urea. A wide range of industrial and even household products can contain this chemical.

Examples include paints, glues, air fresheners, carpet cleaners, dyes, disinfectants, cosmetics, nail enamels, plastics, shampoos, conditioners, and pharmaceutical products. Ingestion, as well as inhalation of this chemical can cause poisoning, the severity of which depends on the amount that is inhaled or ingested by a person. Would you like to write for us? Well, we're looking for good writers who want to spread the word.

Get in touch with us and we'll talk Formaldehyde poisoning can be acute or chronic. An acute exposure refers to a single and short term exposure to a considerable amount of formaldehyde, which can produce short-term side effects. Contrary to this, a chronic exposure refers to the long-term, and continued exposure that can lead to some serious health problems. Formaldehyde usually affects the respiratory system, and so, repeated exposure to this chemical can eventually cause bronchitis, asthma, and pneumonia.

Its ingestion can prove fatal, and hence calls for immediate medical attention. Formaldehyde poisoning can produce the following signs and symptoms:. Apart from these, formaldehyde poisoning can lead to coma and death, especially if this chemical is ingested.

Formaldehyde is also considered a potential carcinogen, and so, prolonged exposure to this chemical can raise the risk of developing cancer, especially lung and brain cancer. Children in particular are more likely to develop serious complications associated with formaldehyde poisoning. The presence of formaldehyde in the body can be detected with the help of a patch test.

For treating this condition, physicians can prescribe several medications or drugs available for this purpose. As the poisoning can lead to life-threatening complications, it is important to seek medical attention immediately on observing any of the aforementioned symptoms. Along with treatment, it is equally important to find out the root causes or the sources of formaldehyde exposure. Formaldehyde poisoning can be prevented by limiting the use of products that contain this chemical.

Such products should be especially kept out of the reach of children. Reading the labels of various products before making your purchases can help find out whether a particular product contains this chemical. Nowadays, formaldehyde test kits are also available in the market.

With the help of such a test kit, it is possible to examine the indoor air quality of your home and building. As far as occupational exposure is concerned, appropriate workplace safety measures need to be taken by industries to minimize the health hazards associated with the exposure to chemicals like formaldehyde. Disclaimer : This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be replaced for the advice of a medical professional.

Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. These cookies do not store any personal information.The occupational health hazards of formaldehyde are primarily due to its toxic effects after inhalation, after direct contact with the skin or eyes by formaldehyde in liquid or vapor form, and after ingestion.

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Inhalation breathing : Formaldehyde is highly irritating to the upper airways. The concentration of formaldehyde that is immediately dangerous to life and health is ppm. Concentrations above 50 ppm can cause severe pulmonary reactions within minutes. These include pulmonary edema, pneumonia, and bronchial irritation which can result in death. Concentrations above 5 ppm readily cause lower airway irritation characterized by cough, chest tightness and wheezing.

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There is some controversy regarding whether formaldehyde gas is a pulmonary sensitizer which can cause occupational asthma in a previously normal individual. Formaldehyde can produce symptoms of bronchial asthma in humans.

The mechanism may be either sensitization of the individual by exposure to formaldehyde or direct irritation by formaldehyde in persons with pre-existing asthma. Upper airway irritation is the most common respiratory effect reported by workers and can occur over a wide range of concentrations, most frequently above 1 ppm.

However, airway irritation has occurred in some workers with exposures to formaldehyde as low as 0. Symptoms of upper airway irritation include dry or sore throat, itching and burning sensations of the nose, and nasal congestion.

formaldehyde cancer symptoms

Tolerance to this level of exposure may develop within hours. This tolerance can permit workers remaining in an environment of gradually increasing formaldehyde concentrations to be unaware of their increasingly hazardous exposure. Eye contact: Concentrations of formaldehyde between 0.

Formaldehyde and Cancer Risk

Increased rate of blinking and eye closure generally protects the eye from damage at these low levels, but these protective mechanisms may interfere with some workers' work abilities.

Tolerance can occur in workers continuously exposed to concentrations of formaldehyde in this range. Accidental splash injuries of human eyes to aqueous solutions of formaldehyde formalin have resulted in a wide range of ocular injuries including corneal opacities and blindness. The severity of the reactions have been directly dependent on the concentration of formaldehyde in solution and the amount of time lapsed before emergency and medical intervention.

Skin contact: Exposure to formaldehyde solutions can cause irritation of the skin and allergic contact dermatitis. These skin diseases and disorders can occur at levels well below those encountered by many formaldehyde workers. Symptoms include erythema, edema, and vesiculation or hives.

Exposure to liquid formalin or formaldehyde vapor can provoke skin reactions in sensitized individuals even when airborne concentrations of formaldehyde are well below 1 ppm. Ingestion: Ingestion of as little as 30 ml of a 37 percent solution of formaldehyde formalin can result in death. Gastrointestinal toxicity after ingestion is most severe in the stomach and results in symptoms which can include nausea, vomiting, and severe abdominal pain.

Diverse damage to other organ systems including the liver, kidney, spleen, pancreas, brain, and central nervous systems can occur from the acute response to ingestion of formaldehyde. Long term exposure to formaldehyde has been shown to be associated with an increased risk of cancer of the nose and accessory sinuses, nasopharyngeal and oropharyngeal cancer, and lung cancer in humans.

Animal experiments provide conclusive evidence of a causal relationship between nasal cancer in rats and formaldehyde exposure. Concordant evidence of carcinogenicity includes DNA binding, genotoxicity in short-term tests, and cytotoxic changes in the cells of the target organ suggesting both preneoplastic changes and a dose-rate effect. Formaldehyde is a complete carcinogen and appears to exert an effect on at least two stages of the carcinogenic process.

Medical and occupational history: Along with its acute irritative effects, formaldehyde can cause allergic sensitization and cancer.

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One of the goals of the work history should be to elicit information on any prior or additional exposure to formaldehyde in either the occupational or the non-occupational setting.Formaldehyde is a colorless, strong-smelling, flammable chemical that is produced industrially and used in building materials such as particleboard, plywood, and other pressed-wood products.

In addition, it is commonly used as a fungicidegermicideand disinfectantand as a preservative in mortuaries and medical laboratories. Formaldehyde also occurs naturally in the environment. It is produced during the decay of plant material in the soil and during normal chemical processes in most living organisms. It is also a combustion product found in tobacco smoke.

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People are exposed primarily by inhaling formaldehyde gas or vapor from the air or by absorbing liquids containing formaldehyde through the skin. Workers who produce formaldehyde or products that contain formaldehyde—as well as laboratory technicians, certain health care professionals, and mortuary employees—may be exposed to higher levels of formaldehyde than people in the general population.

The general public may be exposed to formaldehyde by breathing contaminated air from sources such as pressed-wood products, tobacco smoke, and automobile tailpipe emissions. Another potential source of exposure to formaldehyde is the use of unvented fuel-burning appliances, such as gas stoves, wood-burning stoves, and kerosene heaters. Studies of workers exposed to high levels of formaldehyde, such as industrial workers and embalmers, have found that formaldehyde causes myeloid leukemia and rare cancers, including cancers of the paranasal sinuses, nasal cavityand nasopharynx.

The U. Formaldehyde levels in homes and work settings can also be reduced by ensuring adequate ventilation, moderate temperatures, and reduced humidity levels through the use of air conditioners and dehumidifiers. Menu Contact Dictionary Search. Understanding Cancer. What Is Cancer? Cancer Statistics. Cancer Disparities. Cancer Causes and Prevention. Risk Factors. Cancer Prevention Overview. Cancer Screening Overview. Screening Tests.

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Types of Cancer Treatment. Side Effects of Cancer Treatment. Clinical Trials Information. A to Z List of Cancer Drugs. Questions to Ask about Your Treatment. Feelings and Cancer. Adjusting to Cancer.Formaldehyde is a colorless, flammable, strong-smelling chemical that is used in building materials and to produce many household products. It is used in pressed-wood products, such as particleboard, plywood, and fiberboard; glues and adhesives; permanent-press fabrics; paper product coatings; and certain insulation materials.

In addition, formaldehyde is commonly used as an industrial fungicidegermicideand disinfectantand as a preservative in mortuaries and medical laboratories. Formaldehyde also occurs naturally in the environment.

It is produced in small amounts by most living organisms as part of normal metabolic processes. According to a report by the U. Consumer Product Safety Commission, formaldehyde is normally present in both indoor and outdoor air at low levels, usually less than 0. Materials containing formaldehyde can release formaldehyde gas or vapor into the air. One source of formaldehyde exposure in the air is automobile tailpipe emissions. During the s, urea-formaldehyde foam insulation UFFI was used in many homes.

However, few homes are now insulated with UFFI. Homes in which UFFI was installed many years ago are not likely to have high formaldehyde levels now.

Pressed-wood products containing formaldehyde resins are often a significant source of formaldehyde in homes. Other potential indoor sources of formaldehyde include cigarette smoke and the use of unvented fuel-burning appliances, such as gas stoves, wood-burning stoves, and kerosene heaters.

Industrial workers who produce formaldehyde or formaldehyde-containing products, laboratory technicians, certain health care professionals, and mortuary employees may be exposed to higher levels of formaldehyde than the general public. Exposure occurs primarily by inhaling formaldehyde gas or vapor from the air or by absorbing liquids containing formaldehyde through the skin. When formaldehyde is present in the air at levels exceeding 0.

Some people are very sensitive to formaldehyde, whereas others have no reaction to the same level of exposure. Although the short-term health effects of formaldehyde exposure are well known, less is known about its potential long-term health effects. Inlaboratory studies showed that exposure to formaldehyde could cause nasal cancer in rats.

This finding raised the question of whether formaldehyde exposure could also cause cancer in humans. Inthe U. Environmental Protection Agency EPA classified formaldehyde as a probable human carcinogen under conditions of unusually high or prolonged exposure 1.

Since that time, some studies of humans have suggested that formaldehyde exposure is associated with certain types of cancer. Inthe National Toxicology Program, an interagency program of the Department of Health and Human Services, named formaldehyde as a known human carcinogen in its 12 th Report on Carcinogens 3.

Since the s, the National Cancer Institute NCIa component of the National Institutes of Health NIHhas conducted studies to determine whether there is an association between occupational exposure to formaldehyde and an increase in the risk of cancer.

The results of this research have provided EPA and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration OSHA with information to evaluate the potential health effects of workplace exposure to formaldehyde.

OSHA Formaldehyde Training Video - [Standard 1910.1048]

The long-term effects of formaldehyde exposure have been evaluated in epidemiologic studies studies that attempt to uncover the patterns and causes of disease in groups of people. One type of epidemiologic study is called a cohort study. A cohort is a group of people who may vary in their exposure to a particular factor, such as formaldehyde, and are followed over time to see whether they develop a disease.

Another kind of epidemiologic study is called a case-control study. Case-control studies begin with people who are diagnosed as having a disease cases and compare them to people without the disease controlstrying to identify differences in factors, such as exposure to formaldehyde, that might explain why the cases developed the disease but the controls did not.


Several NCI surveys of professionals who are potentially exposed to formaldehyde in their work, such as anatomists and embalmers, have suggested that these individuals are at an increased risk of leukemia and brain cancer compared with the general population.Formaldehyde poisoning is classified as a disorder caused by exposure to formaldehyde fumes.

The condition is often referred to as formaldehyde toxicity, formaldehyde exposure, formalin toxicity, and formalin intoxication. While formaldehyde gas is colorless, it produces a strong identifiable suffocating smell.

The gas is found in many household products and building materials used in the construction of furniture, cabinets, and walls. Although the disorder can be brought on by materials containing formaldehyde, many individuals suffer the disorder by using equipment and tools that have been cleaned with the chemical.

formaldehyde cancer symptoms

Formaldehyde is a chemical that is used to many household products including particleboard, pressed wood, and smoking materials. The chemical is usually found in newly constructed homes filled with building materials that have not adequately aired out after installation. In addition, the levels of the formaldehyde chemical toxins tend to increase with akrise in humidity and temperature. Exposure to the gas through inhalation causes extreme irritation to the body's mucous membranes including the sinuses, throat, nose, and eyes.

Even short-term acute exposure to formaldehyde fumes in small concentrations measuring 0. Alternatively, high concentration exposure to formaldehyde can be fatal.

Long-term exposure to the chemical is known to cause cancer, especially in the throat and nose.

Formaldehyde Poisoning: Information on Causes, Diagnosis & Treatments

Any individual who has been directly exposed to formaldehyde or indirectly exposed to the chemical is at risk of formaldehyde poisoning. That said, children and the elderly tend to be significantly more harmed by the poisonous toxins that are easily absorbed through mucous membranes and skin. No predilection to suffering from formaldehyde poisoning other than age has been observed based on ethnicity, race, or gender.

However, there are predisposing factors that are associated with formaldehyde poisoning that include:. That said, exposure to formaldehyde does not mean the individual will acquire formaldehyde poisoning.

There are certain complications that are known to develop in individuals who suffer from formaldehyde poisoning. Some of these include:. Many individuals have no symptoms at all even after being exposed to elevated levels of formaldehyde chemicals. Some of the associated signs and symptoms of formaldehyde poisoning involve:. Those who experience any health concern associated with the respiratory system or mucous membranes should seek out professional medical assistance at an urgent care center or emergency room at the local hospital.

There are certain steps an individual can take to protect themselves against exposure to chemicals that could lead to formaldehyde poisoning. These include:. Maintaining fresh air in an indoor environment is essential to minimize formaldehyde exposure released through insecticides and cleaning products.Vince delves pretty deep into some of the philosophies he uses and what the future may hold for tracking and sectional data.

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