In several respects, the latest draft of EPA’s formaldehyde IRIS toxicological review is an improvement over an earlier version I reviewed as an EPA advisor in 2017. Unfortunately, other aspects of EPA’s current draft suffer from a lack of judgment and adherence to EPA’s guidelines and is a missed opportunity to work with outside parties, such as our European colleagues. The overall impression of EPA’s current draft is that formaldehyde is toxic at levels below what is often found indoors or in outdoor air.
EPA review of formaldehyde
In April, the EPA published its draft Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) Toxicological Review of Formaldehyde (inhalation), a 192-page document. The publication of this document raises issues that go far beyond the health effects of formaldehyde, issues concerning science, policy, the role of our scientific agencies, and the potential overreach of government regulatory authority.