Precisely. Dose makes the poison and it is an accepted principle in toxicology that there is no safe dose for a carcinogen--at least not for those that cause cancer by DNA damage. You could argue that formaldehyde may function as a carcinogen by causing damage to upper respiratory tissue causing it to repeatedly regenerate. But that's not really clear with formaldehyde.
So thinking that there is a threshold level below which there is no risk for a carcinogen, as there is for many other toxic substances, is not valid.
But it is true that the greater the dose of a carcinogen, the greater the risk. So we don't want paraformaldehyde or any other formaldehyde source in our work environment that will increase our risk.
We are all at some minuscule risk from things we can't control such as formaldehyde from our own metabolic processes, cosmic rays, background radiation, general air pollution, and the like. The purpose of industrial hygiene is to reduce exposure to those toxic substances and carcinogens over which we can exercise control. And that control starts by informing workers that paraformaldehyde releases formaldehyde which can increase their risk for cancer, respiratory irritation, and sensitization.
Don't snort HOCH.
Monona Rossol, M.S., M.F.A.,
Arts, Crafts & Theater Safety, Inc.
United Scenic Artist's, Local USA829
International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employes (IATSE)
181 Thompson St., #23
New York NY 10012-2586 212/777-0062
In a message dated 12/3/2009 10:03:19 PM Eastern Standard Time, roger.o.mcclellan**At_Symbol_Here**ATT.NET writes:
Just to refresh the memory of some folks, recall formaldehyde is present in the 1 carbon metabolic cycle so our bodies contain lots of formaldehyde. I understand that formaldehyde has been measured in exhaled breath at 1-2 ppb. The dose does make the poison!!
Advisor, Toxicology and Human Health Risk Analysis
13701 Quaking Aspen Place NE
Albuquerque, NM 87111
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