Send to

Choose Destination
J Occup Environ Med. 1997 Jul;39(7):639-51.

An updated meta-analysis of formaldehyde exposure and upper respiratory tract cancers.

Author information

Monsanto Company, St. Louis, Mo. 63167, USA.


In this study, we summarize 47 epidemiologic studies related to formaldehyde exposure and use meta-analytic techniques to assess findings for cancers of the lung, nose/nasal sinuses, and nasopharynx. Our analyses indicate that workers with formaldehyde exposure have essentially null findings for lung cancer and a slight deficit of sinonasal cancer. Nasopharyngeal cancer rates were elevated moderately in a minority of studies. Most studies, however, did not find any nasopharyngeal cancers, and many failed to report their findings. After correcting for underreporting, we found a meta relative risk of 1.0 for cohort studies. Case-control studies had a meta relative risk of 1.3. Our review of the exposure literature indicated that the nasopharyngeal cancer case-control studies represented much lower and less certain exposures than the cohort studies. We conclude that the available studies do not support a causal relation between formaldehyde exposure and nasopharyngeal cancer. This conclusion conflicts with conclusions from two previous meta-analyses, primarily because of our consideration of unreported data.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wolters Kluwer
Loading ...
Support Center