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The formaldehyde dilemma

: Salthammer, T.


International journal of hygiene and environmental health 218 (2015), Nr.4, S.433-436
ISSN: 1438-4639
Fraunhofer WKI ()
formaldehyde; guideline values; legislation; building products; secondary sources; indoor; outdoor

The IARC's 2004 classification of formaldehyde as a human carcinogen has led to intensive discussion on scientific and regulatory levels. In June 2014, the European Union followed and classified formaldehyde as a cause of cancer. This automatically triggers consequences in terms of emission minimization and the health-related assessment of building and consumer products. On the other hand, authorities are demanding and authorizing technologies and products which can release significant quantities of formaldehyde into the atmosphere. In the outdoor environment, this particularly applies to combusting fuels. The formation of formaldehyde through photochemical smog has also been a recognized problem for years. Indoors there are various processes which can contribute to increased formaldehyde concentrations. Overall, legislation faces a dilemma: primary sources are often over-regulated while a lack of consideration of secondary sources negates the regulations' effects.