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December 11, 2012

ECHA regulatory review contradicts U.S. classification on formaldehyde

Joy LePree

According to the American Chemistry Council (ACC; Washington, D.C.;, the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA; Helsinki, Finland; Committee for Risk Assessment (RAC) announced on December 7, 2012, that it disagreed with a request to classify formaldehyde as a “known human carcinogen.” Following a comprehensive, scientific review, RAC concluded that formaldehyde be listed as a “presumed human carcinogen,” based on laboratory animal evidence.

“The European conclusion – based on a comprehensive scientific review – classifies formaldehyde in a less-stringent category than last year’s review by the National Toxicology Program (NTP) in the United States. This major European regulatory decision reinforces that the science could not support the conclusions reached by NTP on formaldehyde," says Steve Risotto, senior director at the ACC. “The RAC’s finding contradicts both the National Toxicology Program’s decision to classify formaldehyde as a known carcinogen, per the 12th Report on Carcinogens in 2011, and a similar proposal by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.”

ECHA explains that the “RAC is responsible for preparing the opinion of the Agency on applications for authorization, proposals for restrictions and proposals for harmonized classification and labeling.”

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