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New National Academies Report Provides Scientific Review of EPA’s Draft Formaldehyde Assessment

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A new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine provides recommendations to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for improving its draft IRIS [Integrated Risk Information System] Toxicological Review of Formaldehyde. 

Overall, the report finds that EPA’s draft assessment follows the advice of prior National Academies reports and that the agency’s findings on hazard and quantitative risk are supported by the evidence identified in the document. The report recommends that EPA revise the document to ensure that users can find and follow the methods used in each step of its assessment for each health outcome.

The National Academies’ committee was not asked to conduct its own hazard risk assessment of formaldehyde and does not address any broader aspects of the IRIS program. In addition, the committee was not asked to provide a recommendation for a safe level of formaldehyde exposure for humans.

The study — undertaken by the Committee on the Review of EPA's 2022 Draft Formaldehyde Assessment and chaired by Jonathan Samet, MD, MS, professor and former dean of the Colorado School of Public Health — was sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine are private, nonprofit institutions that provide independent, objective analysis and advice to the nation to solve complex problems and inform public policy decisions related to science, engineering, and medicine. They operate under an 1863 congressional charter to the National Academy of Sciences, signed by President Lincoln.