Send to

Choose Destination
Environ Int. 2009 Nov;35(8):1210-24. doi: 10.1016/j.envint.2009.06.002. Epub 2009 Jul 9.

Formaldehyde in China: production, consumption, exposure levels, and health effects.

Author information

Division of Environmental Health Sciences, School of Public Health, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA.

Erratum in

  • Environ Int. 2010 Apr;36(3):308.


Formaldehyde, an economically important chemical, is classified as a human carcinogen that causes nasopharyngeal cancer and probably leukemia. As China is the largest producer and consumer of formaldehyde in the world, the Chinese population is potentially at increased risk for cancer and other associated health effects. In this paper we review formaldehyde production, consumption, exposure, and health effects in China. We collected and analyzed over 200 Chinese and English documents from scientific journals, selected newspapers, government publications, and websites pertaining to formaldehyde and its subsequent health effects. Over the last 20 years, China's formaldehyde industry has experienced unprecedented growth, and now produces and consumes one-third of the world's formaldehyde. More than 65% of the Chinese formaldehyde output is used to produce resins mainly found in wood products - the major source of indoor pollution in China. Although the Chinese government has issued a series of standards to regulate formaldehyde exposure, concentrations in homes, office buildings, workshops, public places, and food often exceed the national standards. In addition, there have been numerous reports of formaldehyde-induced health problems, including poisoning and cancer. The lack of quality epidemiological studies and basic data on exposed populations emphasizes the need for more extensive studies on formaldehyde and its related health effects in China.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center