PPM Technology

Australia upgrades formaldehyde from class 3 to class 2 carcinogen

Source: PPM Technology

Safe Work Australia, a government statutory agency, has changed formaldehyde's carcinogen classification from category 3 (limited evidence of a carcinogenic effect) to category 2 (may cause cancer by inhalation), basing its decision on a 2006 assessment by the National Industrial Chemicals Notification and Assessment Scheme (Nicnas). Manufacturers and importers need to consider this amendment and, if necessary, update safety data sheets and labels to ensure they contain correct and current information

Formaldehyde is a colourless gas with a characteristic pungent odour. It's widely used in many industries and causes severe health issues if used inappropriately.

Formaldehyde is highly toxic to humans, regardless of method of intake. Even very short-term exposure to formaldehyde irritates the eyes causing pain, redness, blurred vision and severe eye watering. It can irritate the nose and throat causing sneezing, soreness, coughing, shortness of breath, headaches and nausea.  Exposure to elevated levels can lead to accumulation of fluid in the lung (pulmonary oedema). A large exposure to formaldehydeis converted to formic acid in the body, leading  to a rise in blood acidity, rapid-shallow breathing, hypothermia, and coma or death.  Long-term exposure causes chronically impaired lung function, skin hardening, swelling and flaking, dermatitis, allergic eczema, and cancer.

Formaldehyde is a skin and respiratory sensitiser. It is a sensitising agent, which can stimulate the body's immune response so that a subsequent exposure to even a very small amount is likely to trigger an allergic response. 

It has also been shown to cause sleep disturbance, impaired memory, reduced concentration, nausea and menstrual irregularity.

Safety and Detection

In order to ensure the public are not exposed to dangerous levels of Formaldehyde in the air, it is advised to detect and monitor levels with a suitable detection instrument, especially in industries and buildings where formaldehyde is commonly used.

PPM Technology has significant experience in the design and development of instruments for accurate detection and measurement of Formaldehyde. OurFormaldemeter range of instruments has been in existence for over 10 years. We continuously develop and improve the instruments to achieve better performance and features. Our latest instruments are the Formaldemeter htVm and htV.

'Overexposure to airborne formaldehyde is dangerous to health, but the risks can be substantially reduced if levels are regularly measured and monitored,' said MD John B Jones.

'Our latest Formaldemeter htv-m model enables continuous monitoring, so staff will be aware when formaldehyde concentrations reach dangerous levels.'

 More information – www.ppm-technology.com/products