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Contribution of formaldehyde to respiratory cancer.

Abstract
This article reviews the available data on the carcinogenicity of formaldehyde from experimental and epidemiologic studies and makes recommendations for further research. Two definitive chronic inhalation bioassays on rodents have demonstrated that formaldehyde produces nasal cancer in rats and mice at 14 ppm and in rats at 6 ppm, which is within the domain of present permissible human exposure (8-hr time-weighted average of 3 ppm, a 5 ppm ceiling, and a 10 ppm short-term exposure limit). Biochemical and physiologic studies in rats have shown that inhaled formaldehyde can depress respiration, inhibit mucociliary clearance, stimulate cell proliferation, and crosslink DNA and protein in the nasal mucosa. No deaths from nasal cancer have been reported in epidemiologic studies of cohorts exposed to formaldehyde, but three case-control studies suggest the possibility of increased risk. Although excesses of lung cancer deaths have been observed in some studies at industrial plants with formaldehyde exposure, uncertainties in interpretation limit the evaluation of these findings. Excess cancers of the brain and of lymphatic and hematopoietic tissues have been reported in certain studies of industrial groups and in most studies of formaldehyde-exposed professionals, but whether these excesses are related to formaldehyde exposure is not known. Several properties of formaldehyde pose unique problems for future research: the mechanisms responsible for its nonlinear response; its probable mechanism of carcinogenic action as a cross-linking agent; its formation in tissues as a normal metabolite; its possible action as a promoter and/or a cocarcinogen; and the importance of glutathione as a host defense at low exposure.
AuthorsN Nelson, R J Levine, R E Albert, A E Blair, R A Griesemer, P J Landrigan, L T Stayner, J A Swenberg
JournalEnvironmental health perspectives (Environ Health Perspect) Vol. 70 Pg. 23-35 (Dec 1986) ISSN: 0091-6765 [Print] UNITED STATES
PMID3830109 (Publication Type: Comparative Study, Journal Article)
Chemical References
  • Air Pollutants
  • Air Pollutants, Occupational
  • Carcinogens
  • Mutagens
  • Formaldehyde
Topics
  • Air Pollutants
  • Air Pollutants, Occupational
  • Animals
  • Carcinogens
  • Formaldehyde
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms (chemically induced, mortality)
  • Mutagenicity Tests
  • Mutagens
  • Mutation
  • Neoplasms (mortality)
  • Respiratory Tract Neoplasms (chemically induced, mortality)

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