Date: Thu, 3 Dec 2009 16:15:55 EST
Reply-To: DCHAS-L Discussion List <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU>
Sender: DCHAS-L Discussion List <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU>
From: ACTSNYC**At_Symbol_Here**CS.COM
Subject: Re: Paraformaldehyde - carcinogen or not?

Of course it is a carcinogen.  The EU is shortening their testing list by figuring out that if a chemical breaks down to release or is metabolized to release a carcinogen, the chemical itself is a carcinogen.  That is how their very elegant Dye Directive effectively bans hundreds of untested dyes from use on materials that will be next to the skin.  The Directive has a list of 22 carcinogens, and all you have to do is look at your dye, see where the azo bonds are likely to break and what's left over, and you will know even without testing whether or not you can use the stuff.

The EU, which actually registers all chemicals proposed for use in products in commerce is up to 140,000 and counting.  But only about 900 chemicals have had any sort of cancer testing.  There isn't enough time or rats in the universe to test 140,000 chemicals, so there has to be some short cutting.  And this is one of the ways.

If a chemical breaks down to release a carcinogen, it's a carcinogen. 

Monona Rossol

In a message dated 12/3/2009 12:40:46 PM Eastern Standard Time, dmdecker**At_Symbol_Here**UCDAVIS.EDU writes:

This comes up every so often, with strong feelings on both sides, because paraformaldehyde evolves formaldehyde gas (slowly) in solution, under some circumstances.


What say you?


Debbie Decker

EH&S UCDavis


FAX (530)752-4527


Co-Conspirator to Make the World A

Better Place -- Visit and join the conspiracy


Previous post   |  Top of Page   |   Next post

The content of this page reflects the personal opinion(s) of the author(s) only, not the American Chemical Society, ILPI, Safety Emporium, or any other party. Use of any information on this page is at the reader's own risk. Unauthorized reproduction of these materials is prohibited. Send questions/comments about the archive to
The maintenance and hosting of the DCHAS-L archive is provided through the generous support of Safety Emporium.