Toxic effects of formaldehyde in humans are discussed in relation to occupational exposure and tolerance to this agent. Carcinogenic and mutagenic properties of formaldehyde have been reported in animals and this has led to concern about a possible role in human cancer. The current state of affairs is reviewed in the light of a lack of direct evidence linking formaldehyde with cancer in man and in relation to recommended exposure levels. It is important to employ effective means of containment and practical methods for reducing exposure to formaldehyde in pathology departments and post-mortem rooms are described.
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