Formaldehyde

The Committee on Mutagenicity of Chemicals in Food, Consumer Products and the Environment reviewed available science and issued a comprehensive report outlining evidence for systemic mutation by formaldehyde  including genotoxic effects documented in peripheral blood lymphocytes. The Committee agreed that formaldehyde was a site of contact in-vivo mutagen.

The World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) clearly states that,

“Formaldehyde causes cancer of the nasopharynx and leukaemia.”

As a result, they classified formaldehyde as “Group 1” (carcinogenic to humans) in 2004. In their report (“Chemical Agents and Related Occupations Volume 100 F: A review of Human Carcinogens” they classify formaldehyde in the same category as Dioxins, stating that,

“The Working Group unanimously reaffirmed the classification of formaldehyde in Group 1, based on sufficient evidence in humans of nasopharyngeal cancer. A possible association with leukaemia was considered strong “but not sufficient” by a previous Working Group, mainly because of the lack of a plausible mechanism. Since that time, the epidemiological evidence has become stronger: a recent study found that embalming was significantly associated with an increased risk for myeloid leukaemia, with cumulative years of embalming and with increasing peak-exposure to formaldehyde. In addition, a recent study of a small group of workers exposed to formaldehyde showed numerical chromosomal aberrations in myeloid progenitor cells (chromosome-7 monosomy, chromosome-8 trisomy) as also observed in myeloid leukaemia, and haematological changes in peripheral blood that are indicative of effects on the bone marrow. A small majority of the Working Group concluded that, overall, there is sufficient evidence of a causal association between exposure to formaldehyde and an increased risk for leukaemia, particularly myeloid leukaemia.”

The formaldehyde chapter, which contains a thorough discussion as well as extensive references, can be found on pages 401-435 of the IARC Chemical Agents Monograph (Volume 100F) HERE.

Published since 1971, A\J, Canada’s oldest environmental magazine, has this to say about formaldehyde:

“Formaldehyde is commercially produced from petroleum and used in the manufacturing of many items: crease-resistant fabrics, automobiles, plywood, carpet, sanitary paper products, paints, insulation, antiseptics, vaccines and medications. What was once used exclusively as an antiseptic or animal preservative has become a billion dollar industry finding uses in thousands of products.”

The Concise International Chemical Assessment Document, published under the joint sponsorship of the United Nations Environment Programme, the International Labour Organization, and the World Health Organization, and produced within the framework of the Inter-Organization Programme for the Sound Management of Chemicals report can be read here.

Formaldehyde is sometimes sprayed on produce to keep it fresh during transit; although due to its toxicity this practice has been banned in Vietnam.

Metabolism of formaldehyde is via its reaction with glutathione (GSH) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20737071 

Check the Comparative Toxicogenomics Database for diseases associated with formaldehyde exposure.

Archives of Environmental Health, Volume 56, Issue 4, 2001: Embryo Toxicity and Teratogenicity of Formaldehyde.

Despite all this, the Vermont Department of Health claims that formaldehyde is,”essential in human metabolism.” This is a curious and highly questionable position to take, considering the high level of toxicity confirmed by the WHO. On their vaccine promotion facebook page, they suggest that since pears have formaldehyde in them, then vaccines with formaldehyde must be safe.

Formaldehyde inhibits mitochondrial respiration. Its toxicity and carcinogenicity are attributed to its ability combine with DNA and proteins. (see: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11306052)

Why inject a known carcinogen in any amount?

According to the American Chemistry Council (a trade organization),

“In the U.S., formaldehyde is responsible for employing 600,000 people in the U.S. directly and three million people indirectly. It is responsible, both directly and indirectly, for $112 billion in U.S. wages and $77.4 billion in U.S. business investments.”