FORMALDEHYDE POISONING!

Why Should You Care?
According to the CDC “In view of its widespread use, toxicity and volatility, exposure to formaldehyde is a significant consideration for human health.” On 10 June 2011, the US National Toxicology Program has described formaldehyde as "known to be a human carcinogen". Humans are exposed to formaldehyde in the environment and in the workplace. Formaldehyde concentrations in the environment generally are reported in parts per billion, but exposure levels are much higher in the workplace, occurring in the range of parts per million. The primary exposure concern is for the workers in the industries producing or using formaldehyde. As far back as 1987, the U.S. EPA classified it as a probable human carcinogen and after more studies the WHO International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), in 1995, also classified it as a probable human carcinogen. Further information and evaluation of all known data led the IARC to reclassify formaldehyde as a known human carcinogen ]associated with nasal sinus cancer and nasopharyngeal cancer. Recent studies have also shown a positive correlation between exposure to formaldehyde and the development of leukemia, particularly myeloid leukemia. In the residential environment, formaldehyde exposure comes from a number of different routes; formaldehyde can off-gas from wood products, such as plywood or particle board, but it is produced by paints, varnishes, floor finishes, and cigarette
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smoking as well. Formaldehyde is ubiquitous in the environment and has been detected in indoor and outdoor air, soil, food, treated and bottled drinking water, surface water, and groundwater. The general population can be exposed to formaldehyde primarily from breathing indoor or outdoor air, from tobacco smoke, from use of cosmetic products containing formaldehyde, and, to a more limited extent, from ingestion of food and water. For the general population, the major sources of airborne formaldehyde exposure include combustion sources, offgassing from numerous construction and home-furnishing products, and offgassing from consumer goods. Formaldehyde gas is produced from the oxidation or incomplete combustion of organic material. Combustion sources include automobiles and other internal combustion engines, power plants, incinerators, refineries, forest fires, wood stoves, and cigarettes. Although daily formaldehyde exposure from residential indoor air in conventional homes has been reported to range from 0.5 to 2.0 mg, daily exposure in a prefabricated home was as high as 10 mg. Temporary housing provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency as shelter for residents of Louisiana and Mississippi displaced by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita had formaldehyde concentrations ranging from 3 to 590 ppb (0.003 to 0.59ppm) (CDC 2008, 2009). Most of the housing was at least two years old at the time of sampling, which occurred during the winter months. Formaldehyde levels were higher in travel trailers than park models or mobile homes. Higher concentrations of formaldehyde than were found by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have been reported by others There are no federal guidelines for formaldehyde levels in residential housing for indoor air quality (CDC 2008). Daily exposure to formaldehyde was estimated at up to 2mg from smoking 20 cigarettes per day, up to 3.5 mg from environmental tobacco smoke in the home, and 2.8 mg from environmental tobacco smoke in the workplace (WHO 2000). The general population could also be exposed to formaldehyde by handling consumer products that contain formaldehyde as antimicrobial agents (such as laundry detergents, wallpaper adhesive, or sanitizers) or from its use as a mildewcide for clothing and linens or in vacation homes (EPA 2008). Although formaldehyde per se is rarely used now in cosmetics, the use of formaldehyde releasers is common. An analysis of data from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Voluntary Cosmetic Registration Program Database indicated that nearly 20% (6,463 of 33,212) of cosmetic products contained formaldehyde (including formalin) or any of eight formaldehyde-releasing preservatives. Absorption of formaldehyde from hand cream or suntan lotion was estimated at up to 0.1 mg for a typical application, assuming 5% absorption through the skin (ATSDR 1999). Other products that often contain formaldehyde releasers are industrial and household cleaning agents, soaps, shampoos, paints, lacquers, and cutting fluids (WHO 2002).
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Food and water contain measureable concentrations of formaldehyde, but the significance of ingestion as a source of formaldehyde exposure for the general population is questionable. Formaldehyde in food exists mostly in a bound form and it is considered to be unstable in aqueous solution . Formaldehyde present in food can occur naturally or through inadvertent contamination; it can also be added as a preservative, disinfectant, or bacteriostatic agent and can result from cooking or smoking of foods. Generally, higher levels were reported in fish, seafood, and smoked ham than in other foods. Formaldehyde in treated drinking water occurs primarily through the oxidation of organic matter during ozonation or chlorination; concentrations of up to 30 µg/L were reported (WHO 2005). Formaldehyde can also be present in the water before treatment; it was found in 16 of 35 influent samples at concentrations ranging from 1.2 to 13µg/L. In occupational environments, formaldehyde occurs mainly as a gas; however, formaldehyde particulates can be inhaled when paraformaldehyde or powdered resins are used or when formaldehyde adsorbs to other particles, such as wood dust (IARC 1995). Workers may also be exposed through contact of formalin solutions or liquid resins with the skin or eyes. Occupational exposure to formaldehyde is highly variable and can occur in numerous industries, including the manufacture of formaldehyde and formaldehyde-based resins, wood composite and furniture production, plastics production, embalming, foundry operations, fiberglass production, construction, agriculture, firefighting, and histology, pathology, and biology laboratories, among others. In the late 1980s, OSHA estimated that over 2 million U.S. workers were exposed to formaldehyde, about 45% of whom worked in the garment industry (USDL 2009). Children may be more susceptible to the locally-acting irritant properties of formaldehyde.

Proven and Probable Carcinogens
In June 2011, the twelfth edition of the National Toxicology Program (NTP) Report on Carcinogens (RoC) changed the listing status of formaldehyde from “reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen” to “known to be a human carcinogen”. Formaldehyde is known to be a human carcinogen based on sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity from studies in humans and supporting data on mechanisms of carcinogenesis. Formaldehyde was first listed in the Second Annual Report on Carcinogens in 1981 as “reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen based on sufficient evidence from studies in experimental animals”.

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Epidemiological studies have demonstrated a causal relationship between exposure to formaldehyde and cancer in humans. Causality is indicated by consistent findings of increased risks of nasopharyngeal cancer, sinonasal cancer, and lymphohematopoietic cancer, specifically myeloid leukemia among individuals with higher measures of exposure to formaldehyde (exposure level or duration). The evidence for nasopharyngeal cancer is somewhat stronger than that for myeloid leukemia. Numerous epidemiological studies have evaluated the relationship between exposure to formaldehyde and cancer risk, including (1) cohort and nested casecontrol studies of industrial workers, (2) cohort and nested case-control studies of professional groups such as pathologists, funeral directors, or embalmers, and (3) population-based cohort and case-control studies. The most informative occupation based studies are the National Cancer Institute (NCI) cohort of over 25,000 men and women who worked at companies that used or produced formaldehyde. Occupational exposure to formaldehyde has also been evaluated in a large cohort study: a National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) cohort study of over 11,000 male and female garment workers, which evaluated risks of cancer at a few selected tissue sites by time since first exposure (latency), exposure duration, and year of first exposure. For types of cancer with higher survival rates, such as lymphohematopoietic cancer, studies reporting mortality are less informative than studies reporting incidence, because mortality studies will miss cases of cancer that do not result in death. Nasopharyngeal cancer is a rare cancer, with an annual incidence of less than 1 per 100,000 in most parts of the world. The risk of nasopharyngeal cancer (differentiated squamous-cell carcinoma and unspecified subtypes) increased significantly with increasing cumulative exposure, duration of exposure and probability of exposure (possible, probable, or definite). Studies found the highest risks of nasopharyngeal cancer for individuals with the highest formaldehyde exposure levels (assessed as cumulative exposure, exposure level, or exposure score). Risks were also significantly elevated for individuals with longer time since first exposure or who died at an older age risk was increased fourfold for individuals who died after the age of 68 and were probably exposed to high levels of formaldehyde for at least 20 years before death. Sinonasal cancer is a rare cancer, with an annual incidence of about 1 per 100,000. Elevated risks were observed for both adenocarcinoma and squamous-cell carcinoma; however, some studies suggested that adenocarcinoma was more strongly associated with formaldehyde exposure than was squamous-cell carcinoma. Although co-exposure to wood dust is a potential confounding factor for sinonasal cancer, and specifically for adenocarcinoma, increased risk of sinonasal cancer associated with formaldehyde exposure has been found among individuals with little or no exposure to wood dust or after adjustment for wood-dust exposure. Some studies suggested that co-exposure to formaldehyde and wood dust had an interactive (synergistic) carcinogenic effect. Evidence that demonstrates an association between formaldehyde exposure and combined lymphohematopoietic cancer is found in the NCI cohort of industrial workers. Risk was significantly higher for the highest peak-exposure group than the lowest peak-exposure group, and a positive exposure4

response relationship based on peak exposure was found. The risks of Hodgkin’s lymphoma and multiple myeloma also were significantly higher among individuals with the highest peak exposure than those with the lowest peak exposure, and a positive exposure-response relationship was found for Hodgkin’s lymphoma. . In meta-analyses in 2009, a significant association was found for multiple myeloma. Increased risks for leukemia (all types combined) were found in all of the professional studies and some of the industrial cohort studies. A strong association with myeloid cancer was also found and the magnitudes of the effect estimates were higher for myeloid leukemia than for all leukemia or other subtypes of leukemia. The increased risks were observed for workers in different industries and occupations (workers at formaldehyde- producing companies, garment workers, and embalmers). In a NIOSH cohort study of garment workers, elevated risks of death from myeloid leukemia were found for all workers and for subgroups of workers with the highest exposure or longest latency. An excess risk was found for chronic (but not acute) myeloid leukemia, based on small numbers of formaldehyde exposed individuals with leukemia. It has been found that embalmers have longer duration of exposure and higher cumulative exposure and are more likely to be exposed to peak exposure levels greater than 4ppm than are industrial workers, and that cancer risk is associated with peak levels of exposure to formaldehyde. Increased risks of head and neck cancers (of the buccal cavity, pharynx, larynx, or combinations of these sites) were observed in many of the cohort and case control studies, but most were not statistically significant. An excess of brain cancer mortality was found in all studies of professional groups, but not in the cohort studies of industrial workers. For leukemia, the mechanisms by which formaldehyde causes toxicity at distal sites are unknown. The formation of methanediol (discussed above) from formaldehyde helps to explain how a reactive chemical could be distributed and undergo metabolism throughout the body. Some studies found that formaldehyde-exposed workers had lower counts of white blood cells, granulocytes, platelets, red blood cells, and lymphocytes than did non-exposed workers. A 2009 review of the Chinese literature reported that decreased white blood cell counts were observed in most studies of formaldehyde-exposed workers; in the largest study, exposed workers had higher percentages of blood abnormalities (decreased white blood cell and platelet counts and abnormal hemoglobin levels).

Sources
Formaldehyde has numerous industrial and commercial uses; it is used in industrial processes primarily as a solution (formalin) or solid (paraformaldehyde or trioxane). The predominant use (~55% of total consumption) is in the production of industrial resins which are commonly used in permanent adhesives such as those used in plywood or carpeting. It is used as the wet-strength resin added to sanitary paper products such facial tissue, table napkins, and roll towels. They are also foamed to make insulation, or cast into molded
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products. Production of formaldehyde resins accounts for more than half of formaldehyde consumption. These resins are used to manufacture numerous commercial products, including adhesives and binders for composite wood products, pulp and paper products, plastics, and synthetic fibers, and in textile finishing. Another major use (~29%) is as a chemical intermediate to produce other chemicals. Various agricultural uses (~5%), paraformaldehyde production (~3%), and production of chelating agents (~3%) account for most of the remaining uses. The remaining 5% of formaldehyde goes toward other uses that may still be important for human exposure, including its use as a disinfectant or antimicrobial agent in various consumer products, as a medical treatment for some skin conditions, as a tissue preservative for pathologists and embalmers, and as a biocide and preservative in food and cosmetic products. Formaldehyde is registered as a materials preservative for use in consumer products such as laundry detergents, general-purpose cleaners, and wallpaper adhesives. Other formaldehyde derivatives include diisocyanates, an important component in polyurethane paints and foams, and hexamine, which is used in formaldehyde resins as well as the explosive RDX. . Annual production of formaldehyde in the United States increased from about 0.9 million metric tons (1 million tons) in 1960 to 4.5 million metric tons (5 million tons) in 2006. In 2009, formaldehyde was produced by 12 companies and their subsidiaries at 39 U.S. manufacturing plants. Because of transportation and storage issues associated with formaldehyde, it usually is produced close to the point of consumption. The value of sales of formaldehyde and derivative products was over $145 billion in 2003, about 1.2% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the United States and Canada. Including indirect employment, over 4 million work in the formaldehyde industry across approximately 11,900 plants in the U.S. and Canada.
In the agricultural industry, formaldehyde has been used as a fumigant, preventative for mildew in wheat and rot in oats, a germicide and fungicide for plants, an insecticide, and in the manufacture of slow-release fertilizers.

Occurrence
Formaldehyde is a common building block for the synthesis of more complex compounds and materials. Formaldehyde is a naturally occurring substance in the environment made of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. Natural processes in the upper atmosphere may contribute up to 90 percent of the total formaldehyde in the environment. When produced in the atmosphere by the action of sunlight and oxygen on atmospheric methane and other hydrocarbons, it becomes part of smog. Formaldehyde exists at room temperature as
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a nearly colorless gas with a pungent, suffocating odor. It is soluble in water, ether, acetone, and benzene. Commercially, formaldehyde is most often available as 30% to 50% (by weight) aqueous solutions of the hydrated form, which is commonly referred to as formalin. . Formaldehyde gas is generally stable in the absence of water, but it is flammable and can be ignited by heat, sparks, or flame. Vapors form explosive mixtures with air. Formaldehyde gas reacts violently with strong oxidizing agents and with bases and reacts explosively with nitrogen dioxide at around 180°C (356°F). The textile industry uses formaldehydebased resins as finishers to make fabrics crease-resistant. Formaldehyde-based materials are key to the manufacture of automobiles, and used to make components for the transmission, electrical system, engine block, door panels, axles and brake shoes. Formaldehyde is used extensively in the woodworking and cabinet-making industries. Urea-formaldehyde is used in the glues that bond particle board together. The particle board is used underneath wood veneer and plastic laminate. Cabinets, bank counters, and veneered and laminated woodwork all use particle board containing urea-formaldehyde under the plastic laminate and wood veneer. Formaldehyde is also formed in the early stages of decomposition of plant residues in soil. Formaldehyde can be produced secondarily in air via photochemical reactions involving virtually all classes of hydrocarbon pollutants; in some instances, secondary production may exceed direct air emissions. Formaldehyde concentrations in outdoor air generally range from 0 to 100 ppb (0 to 0.1 ppm) and usually are less than 10 ppb (0.01 ppm); daily exposure from outdoor air has been estimated at 0.1 mg or less. Formaldehyde levels can be higher in indoor air than in outdoor air. Important determinants of indoor air levels include the sources of the formaldehyde, the age of the source materials, temperature, humidity, and ventilation rates. In the past, the highest continuous exposure levels were measured during the varnishing of furniture and wooden floors, during the finishing of textiles, in the garment industry, during the treatment of furs, and in certain jobs in manufactured board mills and foundries. Short-term exposure to high levels of formaldehyde has been reported for embalmers, pathologists, and paper workers. Lower levels of exposure have usually been reported for the manufacture of synthetic vitreous fibers, abrasives, and rubber, and in formaldehyde production (IARC 2006). It has been suggested that because formaldehyde is ubiquitous, occupational exposure occurs in all workplaces (WHO 2002). Daily formaldehyde intake from occupational exposure has been estimated at up to 8 mg (WHO 2000). In the United States, high exposure levels were reported for formaldehyde-based resin production (mean concentrations of up to 14.2 ppm), plastic product production (up to 38.2 ppm), embalming (up to 2.6 ppm) biology teaching laboratories (up to 8.3 ppm) (EPA 1981), and pathology autopsy laboratories (up to 4.35 ppm). Using formaldehyde exposure data from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) air sampling data base for various U.S. industries from 1979 to 2001, found the highest estimated relative indices of exposure based on time-weighted-average exposure data for the reconstituted
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wood products and lumber and wood products industries. The highest estimated relative indices of exposure based on shortterm exposure data (aggregated short-term, peak, and ceiling exposure levels) were for the reconstituted wood products industry and funeral services and crematories. Formaldehyde has been found as a contaminant in several bath products, at levels from 54–610 ppm: it is thought to arise from the breakdown of preservatives in the products. Small amounts of formaldehyde are produced in case of incomplete combustion of methane gas. Formaldehyde is used to inactivate bacterial products for toxoid vaccines (vaccines that use an inactive bacterial toxin to produce immunity). It is also used to kill unwanted viruses and bacteria that might contaminate the vaccine during production. Urinary tract infections are also often treated using a derivative of formaldehyde (methenamine), a method often chosen because it prevents overuse of antibiotics and the resultant development of bacterial resistance to them. In an acid environment methenamine is converted in the kidneys to formaldehyde, which then has an antibacterial effect in the urinary tract. This is not safe for long term use due to the carcinogenic effect of formaldehyde. Some topical creams, cosmetics and personal hygiene products also contain derivatives of formaldehyde as the active ingredients that prevent the growth of potentially harmful bacteria. An aqueous solution of formaldehyde can be useful as a disinfectant as it kills most bacteria and fungi (including their spores). Formaldehyde solutions are applied topically in medicine to dry the skin, such as in the treatment of warts. Many aquarists use formaldehyde as a treatment for the parasites.

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Pollution History
In the early 1900s, formaldehyde was frequently added by US milk plants to milk bottles as a method of pasteurization due to the lack of knowledge regarding formaldehyde's toxicity.

FEMA trailer incidents after Hurricane Katrina & Rita
In the U.S. the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) provided travel trailers and mobile homes starting in 2006 for habitation by residents of the U.S. gulf coast displaced by Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita. Some of the people who moved into the trailers complained of breathing difficulties, nosebleeds, and persistent headaches. Formaldehyde-catalyzed resins were used in the production of these homes. The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) performed indoor air quality testing for formaldehyde in some of the units. On February 14, 2008 the CDC announced that potentially hazardous levels of formaldehyde were found in many of the travel trailers and mobile homes provided by the agency. The CDC's preliminary evaluation of a scientifically established random sample of 519 travel trailers and mobile homes tested between Dec. 21, 2007 and Jan. 23, 2008 (2+ years after manufacture) showed average levels of formaldehyde in all units of about 77 parts per billion (ppb). Long-term exposure to levels in this range can be linked to an increased risk of cancer and, at levels above this range, there can also be a risk of respiratory illness. These levels are higher than expected in indoor air, where levels are commonly in the range of 10-20 ppb, and are higher than the Agency for Toxic Substance Disease Registry (ATSDR, division of the CDC) Minimal Risk Level (MRL) of 8 ppb. Levels measured ranged from 3 ppb to 590 ppb. FEMA, which requested the testing by the CDC, said it would work aggressively to relocate all residents of the temporary housing as soon as possible. Lawsuits are being filed against FEMA as a result of the exposures.
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While the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) allows no more than 16 ppb formaldehyde in the air in new buildings constructed for that agency, an EPA study found an average new home measured 0.076 ppm (76 ppb) when brand new and 0.045 ppm (45ppb) after 30 days. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has also announced limits on the formaldehyde levels in trailers purchased by that agency. The EPA recommends the use of “exterior-grade” pressed-wood products with phenol instead of urea resin to limit formaldehyde exposure, since pressed-wood products containing formaldehyde resins are often a significant source of formaldehyde in homes. Formaldehyde levels in building environments are affected by a number of factors. These include the potency of formaldehydeemitting products present, the ratio of the surface area of emitting materials to volume of space, environmental factors, product age, interactions with other materials, and ventilation condition. Formaldehyde emits from a variety of construction materials, furnishings, and consumer products. The three products that emit the highest concentrations are medium density fiberboard, hardwood plywood, and particle board. Environmental factors such as temperature and relative humidity can elevate levels because formaldehyde has a high vapor pressure. Formaldehyde levels from building materials are the highest when a building first opens because materials would have less time to off-gas. Formaldehyde levels decrease over time as the sources suppress.

Iowa Floods of 2008
Also in the U.S., problems arose in trailers again provided by FEMA to residents displaced by the Iowa floods of 2008. Several months after moving to the trailers, occupants reported violent coughing, headaches, as well as asthma, bronchitis, and other problems. Tests showed that in some trailers, levels of formaldehyde exceeded the limits recommended by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and American Lung Association. The associated publicity has resulted in additional testing to begin in November.

Sichuan Earthquake of 2008
After an earthquake hit Sichuan, China, a large number of survivors were housed in trailers made with medium-density fiberboard that emitted up to 5 times China's maximum allowable formaldehyde levels. In April, 2009, there were 100 miscarriages recorded in this community, which may have been linked to exposure to high levels of formaldehyde found in the trailers used for housing after the disaster.

Contaminant in food
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Scandals have broken in both the 2005 Indonesia food scare and 2007 Vietnam food scare regarding the addition of formaldehyde to foods to extend shelf life. After a four-year absence, in 2011 Indonesian authorities have again found some foods with formaldehyde being sold in markets in a number of regions across the country. Besides using formaldehyde, they also use borax, but not combined together. In August 2011, at least at 2 Carrefour supermarkets, the Central Jakarta Livestock and Fishery SubDepartment found a sweet glutinous rice drink (cendol) contained 10 parts per million of formaldehyde. Foods known to be contaminated include noodles, salted fish, tofu, and rumors of chicken and beer. In some places, such as China, formaldehyde is still used illegally as a preservative in foods, which exposes people to formaldehyde ingestion. In humans, the ingestion of formaldehyde has been shown to cause vomiting, abdominal pain, dizziness, and in extreme cases can cause death; in addition, there is limited evidence of a carcinogenic effect.

Thailand,
Formaldehyde has been exposed in truckloads of rotten chickens in a food scare; some 11 slaughterhouses were implicated in 2011 in "a large network" run by a gang.

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Symptoms
Acute
Most formaldehyde exposures occur by inhalation or by skin/eye contact. Formaldehyde vapor is readily absorbed from the lungs. In cases of acute exposure, formaldehyde will most likely be detected by smell; however, persons who are sensitized to formaldehyde may experience headaches and minor eye and airway irritation at levels below the odor threshold (odor threshold is 0.5 to 1.0 ppm; OSHA PEL is 0.75 ppm). For sensitized persons, odor is not an adequate indicator of formaldehyde's presence and may not provide reliable warning of hazardous concentrations. Odor adaptation can occur. Low-dose acute exposure can result in headache, rhinitis, and dyspnea; higher doses may cause severe mucous membrane irritation, burning, and lacrimation, and lower respiratory effects such as bronchitis, pulmonary edema, or pneumonia. Sensitive individuals may experience asthma and dermatitis, even at very low doses. Formaldehyde vapors are slightly heavier than air and can result in asphyxiation in poorly ventilated, enclosed, or low-lying areas. Children exposed to the same levels of formaldehyde as adults may receive larger doses because they have greater lung surface area: body weight ratios and increased minute volumes:weight ratios. In addition, they may be exposed to higher levels than adults in the same location because of their short stature and the higher levels of formaldehyde found nearer to the ground. Humans metabolize formaldehyde quickly, so it does not accumulate, and is converted to formic acid in the body. Formaldehyde is highly toxic to all animals, regardless of method of intake. Ingestion of as little as 30 mL (1 oz.) of a solution containing 37% formaldehyde has been reported to cause death in an adult. Water solution of formaldehyde is very corrosive and its ingestion can cause severe injury to upper gastrointestinal tract. Results from human and animal studies indicate that the critical target organs to airborne formaldehyde are the nose and the eyes, with the lungs being a secondary target at high exposure levels. Because formaldehyde resins are used in many construction materials it is one of the more common indoor air pollutants. At concentrations above 0.1 ppm in air formaldehyde can irritate the eyes and mucous membranes, resulting in watery eyes. Formaldehyde inhaled at this concentration may cause headaches, a burning sensation in the throat, and difficulty breathing, as well as triggering or aggravating asthma symptoms. A 1988 Canadian study of houses with ureaformaldehyde foam insulation found that formaldehyde levels as low as 0.046 ppm (46 ppb) were positively correlated with eye and nasal irritation. Controlled exposure human studies have found that short-term inhalation exposures to concentrations
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ranging from 0.4 to 3 ppm can produce symptoms of mild to moderate irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat. The odor threshold for formaldehyde in humans has been reported to be 1 ppm, but others have noted that it may range as low as 0.05 ppm (50 ppb) ( For most people, irritation from formaldehyde is temporary and reversible, though formaldehyde can cause allergies and is part of the standard patch test series. People with formaldehyde allergy are advised to avoid formaldehyde releasers as well (e.g., Quaternium-15, imidazolidinyl urea, and diazolidinyl urea). People who suffer allergic reactions to formaldehyde tend to display lesions on the skin in the areas that have had direct contact with the substance, such as the neck or thighs (often due to formaldehyde released from permanent press finished clothing) or dermatitis on the face (typically from cosmetics). Formaldehyde has been banned in cosmetics in both Sweden and Japan. The eyes are most sensitive to formaldehyde exposure. The maximum concentration value at the workplace is 0.3 ppm.

Chronic
The major concerns of repeated formaldehyde exposure are sensitization and cancer. In sensitized persons, formaldehyde can cause asthma and contact dermatitis. In persons who are not sensitized, prolonged inhalation of formaldehyde at low levels is unlikely to result in chronic pulmonary injury. Adverse effects on the central nervous system such as increased prevalence of headache, depression, mood changes, insomnia, irritability, attention deficit, and impairment of dexterity, memory, and equilibrium have been reported to result from long-term exposure. Chronic exposure may be more serious for children because of their potential longer latency period. Epidemiological studies have demonstrated a causal relationship between exposure to formaldehyde and cancer in humans. Causality is indicated by consistent findings of increased risks of nasopharyngeal cancer, sinonasal cancer, and lymphohematopoietic cancer, specifically myeloid leukemia among individuals with higher measures of exposure to formaldehyde (exposure level or duration). The evidence for nasopharyngeal cancer is somewhat stronger than that for myeloid leukemia. Numerous epidemiological studies have evaluated the relationship between exposure to formaldehyde and cancer risk, including (1) cohort and nested casecontrol studies of industrial workers, (2) cohort and nested case-control studies of professional groups such as pathologists, funeral directors, or embalmers, and (3) population-based cohort and case-control studies. The most informative occupation based studies are the National Cancer Institute (NCI) cohort of over 25,000 men and women who worked at companies that used or produced formaldehyde. Occupational exposure to formaldehyde has also been evaluated in a large cohort study: a National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) cohort study of over 11,000 male and female
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garment workers, which evaluated risks of cancer at a few selected tissue sites by time since first exposure (latency), exposure duration, and year of first exposure. For types of cancer with higher survival rates, such as lymphohematopoietic cancer, studies reporting mortality are less informative than studies reporting incidence, because mortality studies will miss cases of cancer that do not result in death. Nasopharyngeal cancer is a rare cancer, with an annual incidence of less than 1 per 100,000 in most parts of the world. The risk of nasopharyngeal cancer (differentiated squamous-cell carcinoma and unspecified subtypes) increased significantly with increasing cumulative exposure, duration of exposure and probability of exposure (possible, probable, or definite). Studies found the highest risks of nasopharyngeal cancer for individuals with the highest formaldehyde exposure levels (assessed as cumulative exposure, exposure level, or exposure score). Risks were also significantly elevated for individuals with longer time since first exposure or who died at an older age risk was increased fourfold for individuals who died after the age of 68 and were probably exposed to high levels of formaldehyde for at least 20 years before death. Sinonasal cancer is a rare cancer, with an annual incidence of about 1 per 100,000. Elevated risks were observed for both adenocarcinoma and squamous-cell carcinoma; however, some studies suggested that adenocarcinoma was more strongly associated with formaldehyde exposure than was squamous-cell carcinoma. Although co-exposure to wood dust is a potential confounding factor for sinonasal cancer, and specifically for adenocarcinoma, increased risk of sinonasal cancer associated with formaldehyde exposure has been found among individuals with little or no exposure to wood dust or after adjustment for wood-dust exposure. Some studies suggested that co-exposure to formaldehyde and wood dust had an interactive (synergistic) carcinogenic effect. Evidence that demonstrates an association between formaldehyde exposure and combined lymphohematopoietic cancer is found in the NCI cohort of industrial workers. Risk was significantly higher for the highest peak-exposure group than the lowest peak-exposure group, and a positive exposureresponse relationship based on peak exposure was found. The risks of Hodgkin’s lymphoma and multiple myeloma also were significantly higher among individuals with the highest peak exposure than those with the lowest peak exposure, and a positive exposure-response relationship was found for Hodgkin’s lymphoma. . In meta-analyses in 2009, a significant association was found for multiple myeloma. Increased risks for leukemia (all types combined) were found in all of the professional studies and some of the industrial cohort studies. A strong association with myeloid cancer was also found and the magnitudes of the effect estimates were higher for myeloid leukemia than for all leukemia or other subtypes of leukemia. The increased risks were observed for workers in different industries and occupations (workers at formaldehyde- producing companies, garment workers, and embalmers). In a NIOSH cohort study of garment workers, elevated risks of death from myeloid leukemia were found for all workers and for subgroups of workers with the highest exposure or longest latency. An excess risk was found for chronic (but not acute) myeloid leukemia, based on small numbers of formaldehyde exposed individuals with leukemia. It has been found that embalmers have longer duration of exposure and higher cumulative exposure and are more likely to be
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exposed to peak exposure levels greater than 4ppm than are industrial workers, and that cancer risk is associated with peak levels of exposure to formaldehyde. Increased risks of head and neck cancers (of the buccal cavity, pharynx, larynx, or combinations of these sites) were observed in many of the cohort and case control studies, but most were not statistically significant. An excess of brain cancer mortality was found in all studies of professional groups, but not in the cohort studies of industrial workers. For leukemia, the mechanisms by which formaldehyde causes toxicity at distal sites are unknown. The formation of methanediol (discussed above) from formaldehyde helps to explain how a reactive chemical could be distributed and undergo metabolism throughout the body. Some studies found that formaldehyde-exposed workers had lower counts of white blood cells, granulocytes, platelets, red blood cells, and lymphocytes than did non-exposed workers. A 2009 review of the Chinese literature reported that decreased white blood cell counts were observed in most studies of formaldehyde-exposed workers; in the largest study, exposed workers had higher percentages of blood abnormalities (decreased white blood cell and platelet counts and abnormal hemoglobin levels). Although many studies have failed to show a relationship between formaldehyde and asthma, a recent review of studies has shown a strong association between exposure to formaldehyde and the development of childhood asthma. Chronic exposure at higher levels, starting at around 1.9 ppm, has been shown to result in significant damage to pulmonary function, resulting in reduced maximum mid-expiratory flow and forced vital capacity. There is also research that supports the theory that formaldehyde exposure contributes to reproductive problems in women. A study on Finnish women working in laboratories at least 3 days a week found a significant correlation between spontaneous abortion and formaldehyde exposure, and a study of Chinese women found abnormal menstrual cycles in 70% of the women occupationally exposed to formaldehyde compared to only 17% in the control group. There have been no studies done on the effect of formaldehyde exposure on reproduction in men.

Diagnosis and Testing
Testing for formaldehyde is by blood and/or urine by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. Other methods include infrared detection, gas detector tubes, etc., of which HPLC is the most sensitive. Attempts have been made to determine if formaldehyde could be used as a potential biomarker of short-term exposure; however, no significant difference between pre- and post-exposure blood concentrations of formaldehyde could be demonstrated at the concentration tested. Monitoring blood or urine formate levels has also been considered. Mean post exposure urine formate concentrations were not significantly elevated after exposure. Based on the available data, it appears that the detection of the intact
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formaldehyde molecule in the blood and tissues, as well as blood and urine formate, are unreliable and poor indicators of formaldehyde exposure in humans and laboratory animals.

Treatments
Absorption of large amounts of formaldehyde via any route can cause severe systemic toxicity, leading to metabolic acidosis, tissue and organ damage, and coma. There is no antidote for formaldehyde. Treatment consists of supportive measures including decontamination (flushing of skin and eyes with water, gastric lavage, and administration of activated charcoal), administration of supplemental oxygen, intravenous sodium bicarbonate and/or isotonic fluid, and hemodialysis. Persons exposed only to formaldehyde vapor do not pose substantial risks of secondary contamination. Persons whose clothing or skin is contaminated with a solution of formaldehyde can cause secondary contamination by direct contact or through off-gassing vapor. Due to formaldehyde’s high water solubility and reactivity and the rapidity of cellular metabolism of formaldehyde to formate and CO2, toxic effects from formaldehyde are expected to be principally caused by formaldehyde itself (not metabolites) and to be restricted to portal-of-entry tissues, except at high exposure levels that exceed metabolic capacities of these tissues. Thus, following acute exposures to formaldehyde, treatments that dilute or remove non- absorbed or non-reacted formaldehyde from the site of exposure or that present alternative substrates for reaction (e.g., washing of the skin or eyes or dilution of ingested formaldehyde with milk or water) may prevent the occurrence of toxic effects if applied in a timely manner. There are no established treatment protocols to repair tissue damage that may have been caused by formaldehyde at portals-of-entry or to enhance natural repair mechanisms.

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Risks
Analysis showed that those who had performed the most embalming and those with the highest estimated formaldehyde exposure had the greatest risk of myeloid leukemia. There was no association with other cancers of the hematopoietic and lymphatic systems or with brain cancer. NCI investigators have concluded that exposure to formaldehyde may cause leukemia, particularly myeloid leukemia, in humans. Data from extended follow-up of the NCI cohort found that the excess of nasopharyngeal cancer observed in the earlier report persisted. Earlier analysis of the NCI cohort found increased lung cancer deaths among industrial workers compared with the general U.S. population. However, the rate of lung cancer deaths did not increase with higher levels of formaldehyde exposure. This observation led the researchers to conclude that factors other than formaldehyde exposure might have caused the increased deaths. The most recent data on lung cancer from the cohort study did not find any relationship between formaldehyde exposure and lung cancer mortality. The results of some workers studies showed an increased risk of death due to leukemia, particularly myeloid leukemia, among workers exposed to formaldehyde. This risk was associated with increasing peak and average levels of exposure, as well as with the duration of exposure, but it was not associated with cumulative exposure. An additional 10 years of data on the same workers were used in a follow-up study published in 2009. This analysis continued to show a possible link between formaldehyde exposure and cancers of the hematopoietic and lymphatic systems, particularly myeloid leukemia. As in the initial study, the risk was highest earlier in the follow-up period. Risks declined steadily over time, such that the cumulative excess risk of myeloid leukemia was no longer statistically significant at the end of the follow-up period. The researchers noted that similar patterns of risks over time had been seen for other agents known to cause leukemia.

Appearance
Formaldehyde is a colorless, flammable, strong-smelling chemical that is used in building materials and to produce many household products. Formaldehyde is normally present in both indoor and outdoor air at low levels, usually less than 0.03 parts of formaldehyde per million parts of air (ppm). Materials containing formaldehyde can release formaldehyde gas or vapor into the air. One source of formaldehyde exposure in the air is automobile tailpipe emissions.
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During the 1970s, 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.

Regulation
In the United States, a bill was passed in congress on July 7, 2010 regarding the use of formaldehyde in hardwood plywood, particle board, and medium density fiberboard. The bill limited the allowable amount of formaldehyde emissions from these wood products to .09 ppm, a standard which companies will have to meet by January, 2013. OSHA estimated that about 1.9 million workers were exposed to formaldehyde at concentrations between 0.1 and 0.5 ppm, 123,000 at 0.5 to 0.75 ppm, and 84,000 at 0.75 to 1ppm OSHA PEL (permissible exposure limit) = 0.75 ppm (averaged over an 8-hour workshift) OSHA STEL (short-term exposure limit) = 2 ppm (15 minute exposure) NIOSH IDLH (immediately dangerous to life or health) = 20 ppm AIHA ERPG-2 (emergency response planning guideline) (the maximum airborne concentration below which it is believed that nearly all individuals could be exposed for up to 1 hour without experiencing or developing irreversible or other serious health effects or symptoms which could impair an individual's ability to take protective action) = 10 ppm

Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) All plywood and particleboard materials bonded with a resin system or coated with a surface finish containing formaldehyde shall not exceed the following emission levels when installed in manufactured homes: 0.2 ppm for plywood and 0.3 ppm for particleboard. Manufactured homes must prominently display a notice which provides information on formaldehyde sources, levels, health effects, and remedial actions to reduce indoor levels.
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Department of Transportation (DOT) Formaldehyde, formalin, and paraformaldehyde are considered hazardous materials, and special requirements have been set for marking, labeling, and transporting these materials. Identified as one of 33 hazardous air pollutants that present the greatest threat to public health in urban areas. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) While this section accurately identifies OSHA’s legally enforceable PELs for this substance in 2010, specific PELs may not reflect the more current studies and may not adequately protect workers. Several European countries restrict the use of formaldehyde, including the import of formaldehyde-treated products and embalming. Starting September 2007, the European Union banned the use of formaldehyde due to its carcinogenic properties as a biocide (including embalming) under the Biocidal Products Directive.

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Map Distribution
As Shown below, Formaldehyde is released from more than 550 Toxic Release Inventory Sites in the lower 48 states.

US Map Showing Location of Formaldehyde Toxic Release Inventory Sites
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Case Studies
CALIFORNIA

Calif. Map Showing Location of Formaldehyde Toxic Release Inventory Sites

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McFarland, Kern County

In 1995, residents of McFarland, California and the community organization Healing Our Mother Earth (HOME) petitioned the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) to address health concerns about potential environmental contamination in their community. McFarland is an agricultural community located 25 miles north of Bakersfield in California's Central Valley. The town then had a population of approximately 7,970 and is surrounded by crop land, pastures, and orchards. Many residents are agricultural workers. The community is concerned about exposures to hazardous substances (for example, pesticides and toxic wastes) in soil and drinking water, and about the incidence of childhood cancer. Community health concerns were reported as an increase in the number of childhood cancer cases, the incidence of adult cancers, and low birth weights.

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Aerial View of McFarland Schools in Proximity to Agricultural Fields The California Department of Health Services (CDHS), the Kern County Environmental Health Services (KCEHSD) and the EPA investigated a potential childhood cancer cluster identified from 1984 through 1991. The epidemiological study concluded that
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McFarland, Fowler, and Rosamond had unusually higher rates of cancer. However, unusually low rates were found for other communities (Visalia, Sanger, and the Mendota area). The study concluded that the overall distribution of the various types of childhood cancers identified was the expected value. Twenty-one children (less than 15 years old) have been diagnosed with cancer between 1975 and 1995. During this investigation, the CDHS screened 1,700 children, analyzing blood and urine levels to identify any abnormalities. Some children were found to be anemic. CDHS concluded that while the cancer cluster was real, no causal association could be made between the health data and levels of toxic compounds identified by previous environmental sampling data. DHS confirmed that McFarland has suffered from a childhood cancer rate three to four times higher than normal. Prior to 1990, there was significant under reporting of the amount of restricted pesticide use, which may have included known cancer causing compounds. This under reporting has stymied efforts to pinpoint environmental causes of this disease cluster. According to historical records, the McFarland area was the site of a U. S. Army Air Force basic pilot training airfield during World War II, and had extensive agricultural activity, including crop production, chemical application, storage and shipment of agricultural products]. The 2001 public health assessment evaluated contaminant levels in soil and municipal drinking water, but air data were unavailable at the time.

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According to the ATSDR Health Consultation, formaldehyde consistently exceeded the comparison value for cancer health effects, but did not exceed the ATSDR comparison value for chronic non-cancer health effects (10 μg/m3). The mean for formaldehyde for all sampling was 6.8 μg/m3 , which exceeds an ATSDR Cancer Risk Evaluation Guideline (CREG) of 0.08 μg/m3 . ATSDR’s CREG is based on continuous lifetime exposure at 1E-06 increased cancer risk (or an increase in risk for 1 individual in a
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population of 1,000,000) above background and identifies a level where health effects would not be expected. The site-specific cancer risk estimate is 4E-05 (an increase in the risk to 4 individuals in a population of 100,000) for a 30 year continuous exposure, which represents a low increase in risk for cancer health effects. This level of risk would not pose a public health concern as such due to the conservative nature of the risk assessment, but identifies the contaminant for inclusion in further evaluations such as mixtures assessment. For perspective, a study of volatile organic compounds reported nationwide annual formaldehyde levels in air to average 10 μg/m3 outdoors (median 5 μg/m3 ) with median daily concentrations ranging from 3.3 μg/m3 (rural) to 8.0 μg/m3 (urban). Indoor formaldehyde concentrations averaged 61 μg/m3 (median, 52 μg/m3 ). Therefore, average concentrations at McFarland are not inconsistent with nationwide averages. However, there is uncertainty in the scientific literature concerning formaldehyde and its mode(s) of action for developing cancer. A review of current environmental data did not identify levels of contaminants in drinking water or soil at levels of health concerns for cancer or non-cancer (low birth weight, miscarriages, or developmental) effects. Some metals (arsenic, vanadium), pesticides (fusilade, bromodichloroethane, bromoform) and radon were detected at concentrations below levels of health concern in the municipal water system. Soil samples were obtained from various private, public, and industrial areas throughout the McFarland area. Metals (antimony, arsenic, cadmium, and chromium) detected in residential and public area (parks and schools), and industrial areas (arsenic and mercury) were below health effects levels. Therefore, no adverse health effects would be expected. ATSDR ultimately concluded that exposure to the reported individual contaminant levels would not be expected to result in adverse health effects

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Richmond Field Station - Berkeley
The Environmental Health Investigations Branch (EHIB), within the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) (formerly the California Department of Health Services), under cooperative agreement with the federal Agency for Toxic Substance and Disease Registry (ATSDR), conducted a public health assessment (PHA) of the Richmond Field Station (RFS),operated by the University of California (UC) in Richmond, California. The PHA will included a review of existing environmental data to evaluate the potential health impact from exposures to site-related contaminants, a collection of exposure and health concerns, and a response to these concerns based on review of the data. The PHA is an evaluation of the site to help determine what follow-up activities are needed: additional site characterization, health education, health study, or specific measures to reduce or eliminate exposure. Specifically, they addressed the following exposure pathways (situations): contamination in the RFS marsh; metal contamination in on-site soils; airborne contaminants generated/released during remedial activities conducted in September 2002 and September 2003; and contaminants in indoor air. CDPH will be releasing a,PHA for the adjacent Zeneca site—its current owners are Cherokee Simeon Ventures—that contains exposure information that may be applicable to RFS workers. In 1950, UC Berkeley purchased the land known as RFS. The property is located along the Richmond shoreline and consists of tidal mudflats, marsh, grasslands, and the upland areas where most of the facilities/buildings are located. RFS is currently used as a research and teaching facility. The U.S. EPA’s Regional Laboratory is also located at RFS. Between 1870 and 1950, much of RFS property belonged to the California Cap Company, an explosives manufacturer. The California Cap Company manufactured mercury fulminate on-site for the production of blasting caps. Operations at the California Cap Company resulted in mercury contamination to the soil and marsh sediments. From 1897 to 1985, the adjacent property directly east was owned and operated by Stauffer Chemical Company. This property is now referred to as Zeneca/Campus Bay. At various times, Stauffer produced/manufactured sulfuric acid, superphosphate fertilizer, pesticides, herbicides, and other chemicals. The production of sulfuric acid generated pyrite cinder wastes that were deposited on RFS and the Zeneca property. The pyrite cinders are a source of low pH conditions and metals including arsenic, cadmium, copper, lead, mercury, selenium, and zinc. Naturally occurring radionuclides associated with the production of superphosphate fertilizer may also be elevated in soil, sediment, and groundwater on the RFS site. Other historic activities conducted on the Zeneca property involving radionuclides may also be present in soil, sediment, and groundwater. Zeneca is currently undergoing investigation and clean-up activities.

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In 1999, the California Regional Water Quality Control Board (RWQCB), San Francisco Bay Region, identified contamination (metals and low pH conditions) in sediments from the Western Stege Marsh. As a result, RWQCB requested that UC investigate the extent of contamination in the marsh and the southern portion of the upland area. Elevated concentrations of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) were also found in the sediment in and adjacent to Meeker Slough located along the western boundary of Western Stege Marsh. The source of PCB contamination is still under investigation. Since 1999, investigations and clean-up activities have been underway at RFS (1). Clean-up activities include restoring the native marsh and creating additional marsh habitat. Three phases of excavation and removal of contaminated material from RFS have occurred. ‧Phase 1. From August 2002 to January 2003, 28,000 cubic yards of contaminated soil (pyrite cinder waste and mercury) and marsh sediment were removed from an area bordered by Zeneca to the east and East Bay Regional Park Bay Trail to the south. ‧Phase 2. From August 2003 to March 2004, 31,000 cubic yards of contaminated material (pyrite cinder waste and mercurycontaminated sediment) were removed. PCBs were also removed from an area at the outfall of a storm drain in Meeker Slough ‧Phase 3. From August 2004 to November 2004, 3,300 cubic yards of soil contaminated with metals and PCBs were removed from the upland areas. In April 2005, due to ongoing community concerns about RFS, the Contra Costa County Health Services Department and the California Environmental Protection Agency’s Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) requested assistance from CDPH to evaluate the potential health impact posed by the facility. Since that time, CDPH has been conducting PHA activities at RFS. In May 2005, DTSC formally became the lead regulatory agency overseeing environmental investigations and cleanup at the site. In April 2007, under order from DTSC, the UC released a Draft Current Conditions Report, which provides a summary of past activities/site uses, and the current conditions at the site based on past analytical data (2). In the report a number of areas and/or past activities at RFS are described that may have resulted in contamination to the environment. For example, prior to the 1980s, solvents and other laboratory chemicals were disposed of down drains, leading to the sanitary sewer (2). It is common for old sewer lines made of clay pipe to be compromised and leak. There has been no investigation of soil, soil gas, or groundwater along these sewer lines. Drum storage areas and above ground storage tanks containing various petroleum products, hydraulic fluids, and chemical wastes, have also been identified. Areas where polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB)-containing equipment (transformers, switches, and capacitors) was stored has also been identified. The report identifies a number of other areas where data gaps exist, such as the ‘Bulb’ area where miscellaneous site debris and drums may have been buried; groundwater quality in the western portion of the Transition area; and the effectiveness of the Biologically Active Permeable Barrier (BAPB), which was installed to treat subsurface
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contamination (dissolved metals in groundwater) that might be migrating into the marsh . All the above mentioned examples represent gaps in fully understanding the environmental conditions at RFS. In August 2007, a public comment draft of the PHA was released to the public and other stakeholders for review and comment. The comments and CDPH responses included the following statements: “It is possible that workers in Building 163 could have experienced irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat based on September 21, 2005, when formaldehyde was measured at levels exceeding health-based standards”

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Missouri
Kansas City- Bannister Plant

The Bannister Plant is a 310-acre federal complex which consists of 10 buildings occupied primarily by the General Services Administration and the Department of Energy. The Kansas City Plant produces and assembles 85% of the non-nuclear components of the United States nuclear bomb arsenal. A Department of Defense landfill was established in 1942 on a portion of the area, as a disposal site for the Bannister Federal Complex. From 1942 to 1964, when the landfill was closed, several government contractors, including Pratt and Whitney and Westinghouse, disposed waste into the landfill. Disposal activities at the landfill resulted in contamination to soil and groundwater by solvents, metals and, petroleum contaminants. As of fiscal year 2007, the Kansas City Plant had 2,711 employees. Gross operating cost for KCP in FY07 was $501 million. GSA still employs nearly 800 people in the western portion of the complex, which serves as the headquarters to GSA's Heartland Region According to a report by NBC News¸ a 2011 CDC investigation at the Bannister Federal Complex identified 'no cancer cluster' in General Services Administration controlled space. The NIOSH report identified beryllium, uranium, volatile organic compounds, formaldehyde, chlorinated hydrocarbons, PCBS's and radiation as concerns they reviewed. GSA officials said the report did not take into account recent preliminary testing results that could show a presence of uranium and/or beryllium contamination in office space at the complex. Officials said they are awaiting a quality analysis to determine whether the results were accurate or false positives. Many former workers and family members were disturbed by the report's release without more detailed testing and medical evaluations.
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The CDC documented at least 25 cases of pancreatic cancer among workers at the Bannister Federal Complex (which includes GSA side workers and bomb plant workers. The report said no occupational causes of pancreatic cancer are proven. The report also ruled out clusters in the reported cases of breast cancer, prostate cancer, bladder cancer, and lung cancer. CDC officials say they only had jurisdiction on the GSA side of the complex and weren't allowed full access to the Department of Energy controlled plant where the non-nuclear parts are made for nuclear weapons. In 2008, the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) estimated the need for a $287 million clean-up, but no funds were allocated for that part of the complex. Some exposed workers noted that on the Honeywell operated side of the complex, the government has paid out nearly $30 million to workers for similar illnesses believed linked to toxins there. Government officials indicate the plant on the east side has had multiple contamination incidents involving beryllium, PCBs, jet fuel, solvents and other toxins. Over the past decade, the federal government has acknowledged and has documented 1418 claims of illnesses on Bannister Federal Complex's east side at the Kansas City Plant which are officially classified as "toxic substance exposure," The NIOSH and EPA inquiry followed an NBC Action News investigation that has identified hundreds of sick workers who suspect their illnesses are linked to toxins at the plant. According to Department of Labor data, in Kansas City alone, the government has paid workers more than $28 million in compensation for illnesses related to beryllium or other toxins used in the making of non-nuclear parts for nuclear bombs at the Bannister Federal Complex. In Sept 2011 NNSA and GSA jointly announced they will formally apply for modifications to a Missouri Hazardous Waste Management Facility Part I permit and an EPA Hazardous and Solid Waste Amendments Part II permit. These modifications will enable the development of a single set of cleanup goals and will defer moving forward with actions to place the complex on the Superfund National Priorities List (NPL).

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Texas

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Kelly AFB Kelly AFB formerly occupied approximately 4,000 acres on the Southwest side of San Antonio. The base, originally founded in 1916, became the first Air Force base in the country in 1940 and over the years became the longest continually operated Air Force Base until it closed on July 13, 2001. During the Korean and Vietnam wars it became a major hub for Air Force maintenance work and storage. It employed, at its peak, some 25,000 civilian workers while handling 50 percent of the Air Force’s engine maintenance. Because of past waste management practices at Kelly AFB, some areas of the Base are known or suspected to be impacted by various hazardous substances, pollutants, contaminants, or wastes, including metals, VOCs, and SVOCs. The San Antonio Examiner reported that at its peak the AFB was generating more than 250,000 tons of toxic waste per year in close proximity to the neighboring Hispanic communities. The site complex included landfills, spill sites, former fire training areas, low-level radioactive waste sites, underground storage tanks, aircraft maintenance areas, sludge lagoons, sludge-spreading beds, and range sites (which is a small arms range). There were also 334 sites that required some type of investigation, these included: container storage areas, wash racks, drains, oil/water separators, silver recovery units and spill sites. There were approximately 360 sites that had underground storage tanks, aboveground storage tanks or tanks that had previously been removed.

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In the 2007 ATSDR East Kelly AFB Public Health Assessment, the location of maximum formaldehyde levels are not shown but are located at the same locations as benzene and 1,3-butadiene maximums. All estimated off-base contaminant levels were below levels where health effects have been reported in the scientific literature. Community exposures of modeled annual average concentrations were below levels of concern for acute and chronic
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non-cancer health effects, except for potentially irritating or exacerbating respiratory effects from exposure to formaldehyde. These effects are likely short-term and possibly periodic depending on the changing level of aircraft operations. Benzene, 1,3-butadiene, and formaldehyde were the only chemicals of concern for an estimated increase in cancer risk.

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Exposure to worst-case conditions during the period of elevated aircraft operations resulted in an increase in the risk for developing cancer for that period of time. Continuous exposure is averaged over a year because data is not available to more discretely define the exposure. It is possible that exposures occurred to higher levels for shorter periods of time, much like an occupational exposure. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) permissible exposure levels (PELs) are presented for perspective, which describe levels at which workers may be exposed for 8 hours per day for 5 days per week.
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According to the ATSDR, 1,3-butadiene, benzene, and formaldehyde were the chemicals generating the highest cancer risk. These levels of chemicals are below levels where health effects have been reported in workers. To date the Air Force has so far spent $320.4 million on environmental investigation and cleaning up the mess, building water treatment plants, installing barriers and filters, and hauling away contaminated soil. That price tag could reportedly rise to $465 million by 2024.

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Source: ATSDR PHA 1999 Maps of Cancer Index (by Zip Code) Around Kelly AFB
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The contamination spread beneath the base and under the houses of an estimated 22,000 to 30,000 residents of surrounding homes and businesses in three separate plumes. Many residents feared that their cancers and other health problems were related to the plumes as they watched their property values plummet. A health survey in 1997 found that "91% of the adults and 79% of the children are suffering multiple illnesses" ranging from ear, nose and throat conditions to central nervous system disorders, anemia, elevated asthma rates and over 120 cases of ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease). In 1999 ATSDR reported a "Public Health Assessment" of the neighborhoods around Kelly. "ZIP Code area 78237 had elevations in the number of low birth weight babies and children born with specific birth defects two to three times higher than expected. Studies conducted since 1999 have identified high rates of liver cancer around the base as being of particular concern. The liver cancer rate is about double the expected rate and has remained so over the past ten years. One report suggests that 500 cases of liver cancer have been diagnosed among residents who live near Kelly AFB since 1995. But liver cancer rates are high throughout Bexar County and the government and researchers insist residents had little or no exposure to the contamination. Nevertheless, in 2010, the federal government settled a lawsuit filed by almost 400 people who had lived near the base for $1 million.

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Louisiana

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Luling LA – Monsanto In 1954, the Monsanto Chemical Company developed a petrochemical facility on a vast tract of land that sits upon the Mississippi River natural levee in Luling, s Louisiana. This development spurred rapid population growth, but because Monsanto consumed the last remaining parcel of high ground in Luling, the city was forced to accommodate this influx by developing residential subdivisions in flood prone areas. The Monsanto Luling Facility is located in Luling, Louisiana adjacent to the Mississippi River approximately 15 miles upriver from New Orleans. The entire site encompasses approximately 1,600 acres with about 400 acres dedicated to the manufacturing of Roundup® herbicide, Acetaminophen analgesic, and ACL® water treatment chemical

Luling LA Index Map

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Formaldehyde Emissions from Monsanto Luling Plant in 2010

Historical Emissions of Monsanto Luling Plant (1993-2009)

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Historical Emissions of Monsanto Luling Plant (1993-2009) cont.

In 1983 the disposal wells used for deep well injection of the plant’s toxic wastes had a 10 billion gallon capacity. Over 6 million pounds of formaldehyde per year were injected into a disposal well in 2009 and 2010 this was down from the peak of more than 9 million pounds per year between 2006 and 2008.

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Source: Scorecard 2002 Ranking of Monsanto Luling Emissions Relative to Other US Facilities

This plant has the largest emissions of formaldehyde in the country and according to Scorecard.com some of the dirtiest emissions overall in 2002. They also showed the plant had elevated cancer and noncancer risk scores as well as air releases of recognized carcinogens and developmental toxicants.

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Top Ten Toxic Emissions from Monsanto Louisiana in 2008 The air emissions at the Monsanto Luling plant have contributed to the overall air emissions of St Charles Parish (including over 45% formaldehyde emissions. This has led to an elevated cancer risk in the Parish equivalent to 44 in a million people in 2005.

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Source: LA Dept. of Env. Quality Recently, Monsanto completed a major plant expansion at the Luling plant. The nearly $200 million expansion will increase the amount of herbicide Monsanto can produce by up to 20 percent. According to a news release from the Louisiana Governor's Office, Monsanto's expansion created 26 new jobs, represents $196 million in capital investment, and will generate 166 indirect jobs. Then, millions of gallons of generic glyphosate-based herbicide entered the U.S. market from China. Monsanto lowered its forecast range for gross profit for the Roundup business to $250 million to $300 million a year. Only a year ago, the company recorded $1.8 billion in gross profits from the sale of Roundup and other glyphosate-based herbicides. The company said Tuesday's cost cuts will include closing some small offices and manufacturing operations and writing down the value of assets. In 2011, Monsanto acknowledged that Roundup's best years have come to an end. It announced 900 layoffs, mostly of people involved with Roundup, and said it would carve out its herbicide franchise into a stand-alone division.

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Things to Avoid!
Formaldehyde is usually found in the air, and levels are usually higher indoors than outdoors. Opening windows and using fans to bring fresh air indoors are the easiest ways to lower levels in the house. Not smoking and not using unvented heaters indoors can lower the formaldehyde levels. Removing formaldehyde sources in the home can reduce exposure. Formaldehyde is given off from a number of products used in the home. Providing fresh air, sealing unfinished manufactured wood surfaces, and washing new permanent press clothing before wearing can help lower exposure. The EPA recommends the use of “exterior-grade” pressed-wood products to limit formaldehyde exposure in the home. These products emit less formaldehyde because they contain phenol resins, not urea resins. (Pressed-wood products include plywood, paneling, particleboard, and fiberboard and are not the same as pressure-treated wood products, which contain chemical preservatives and are intended for outdoor use.) Before purchasing pressed-wood products, including building materials, cabinetry, and furniture, buyers should ask about the formaldehyde content of these products. Formaldehyde levels in homes can also be reduced by ensuring adequate ventilation, moderate temperatures, and reduced humidity levels through the use of air conditioners and dehumidifiers.

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For More Information
– see websites. www.wereyoupoisoned.com http://wereyoupoisoned.yolasite.com International Agency for Research on Cancer (June 2004). IARC Monographs on the Evaluation of Carcinogenic Risks to Humans Volume 88 (2006): Formaldehyde, 2-Butoxyethanol and 1-tert-Butoxypropan-2-ol. Retrieved June 10, 2011, from: http://monographs.iarc.fr/ENG/Monographs/vol88/index.php. National Toxicology Program (June 2011). Report on Carcinogens, Twelfth Edition. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, National Toxicology Program. Retrieved June 10, 2011, from: http://ntp.niehs.nih.gov/go/roc12. EPA http://www.epa.gov/iaq/formalde.html

NBC News on Bannister Complex, Kansas City MO http://www.nbcactionnews.com/dpp/news/local_news/investigations/cdc's-niosh-report-says-'no-cancer-cluster'-on-gsa-side-bannisterfederal-complex

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