EPA: Breath causes cancer

We’d like to spotlight a interesting statement from the American Chemistry Council made in response to last week’s trashing of the EPA formaldehyde risk assessment by the National Research Council.

The ACC observed:

“The levels of formaldehyde at which most people are exposed are not high enough to cause adverse health effects, according to the large body of research available. In its draft assessment, EPA proposes setting a cancer risk value significantly below the levels that occur naturally in the environment. For example, [the World Health Organization] reports people produce formaldehyde in their bodies and exhale it in the range of less than 0.8 to 8 parts per billion. EPA’s proposed cancer risk value of 0.008 parts per billion would suggest that human breath poses an unacceptable risk of cancer; yet, experience and science tell us that couldn’t possibly be the case.

So our breath is simultaneously causing cancer and warming the planet.

EPA's approach to hazardous breath?

9 thoughts on “EPA: Breath causes cancer”

  1. At those levels, fresh cotton out of the field will fail. So to use cotton, large amounts of chemical will be needed to remove all traces of the formaldehyde. Do they account for that in their risk assessment?

    I wonder if anyone has measured the exchange of formaldehyde during a session of “heavy petting” (you know what I mean).

  2. Once again the EPA priorities are misplaced. They failed to consider risks a far more common and dangerous carcinogen, saliva. It is well known that swallowing small quantities of saliva over a long period of time can be fatal. Shame on the EPA. They have failed us once again.

  3. Yesterday, I actually read the summary material in the NRC report on the EPA formaldehyde risk assessment, and I am heartened to see that MY quick assessment and impressions are confirmed. I may actually take the opportunity to go back and highlight the multiple passages where the EPA findings/conclusions, etc. were deemed as “overstated”, “not documented”, “without clear supporting evidence”…… it appears to be a perfect microcasm of current EPA practice, which is best described as “junk science”…. bravo, Steve.

  4. We need to measure formaldehyde levels in cow flatulence. We also need to check for arsenic, cyanide, prussic acid, Antabuse, and pure-D old stink. Maybe that will help our children exhale more responsibly.

  5. When Phil Abelson was the editor of Science, maybe 40 years ago, there was a good page on “What is zero?” This is not a trivial matter; neither is it a trivial number. My stock-holder water company puts out a list of what is in our drinking water every year, and how much. What is the federal standard maximum of whatever? Various idiots want to reduce substance X to some level “safe for our people.” The level was below the natural abundance of it. Save us from ourselves?

  6. It’s just setting up another fund raiser for the EPA. As it is impossible to meet this level they forever be working on it. Gee… a forever job for bureaucrats, who’d a thunk it? And the proletariat STILL doesn’t see why we’re in such huge debt.

  7. No problem! Environmental wackos are sooo superior that they do not breath out CO2 or any other hazardous gasses. Only us “ignorant masses” pose a risk.

  8. Joe Jackson did a song years ago titled “Everything causes cancer”.

    We will all die. Of something. Have to put the blame somewhere. 0.008 parts per BILLION??? 8 parts per trillion? And they can measure that? I probably have that much on my biology text book from high school. And that was 40+ years ago. Good grief. Junk Science, indeed.

  9. Formaldehyde has been found in samples of well kept lawns at 1 ppm.
    An in-house epidemiological study of workers potentially exposed to formaldehyde (laminates and other industrial products containing formaldehyde) where a significant amount of exposure data were available showed that those workers had statistically significantly lower cancer rates than the general population.

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