Expert Report

Review of the Formaldehyde Assessment in the National Toxicology Program 12th Report on Carcinogens (2014)

Each report is produced by a committee of experts selected by the Academy to address a particular statement of task and is subject to a rigorous, independent peer review; while the reports represent views of the committee, they also are endorsed by the Academy. Learn more on our expert consensus reports.

In 1981, the National Toxicology Program (NTP) listed formaldehyde in the 2nd Report on Carcinogens (RoC) as "reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen." In 2011, NTP upgraded the listing of formaldehyde in the 12th RoC to "known to be a human carcinogen." Following the new listing, Congress directed the Department of Health and Human Services to arrange for the National Academy of Sciences to independently review formaldehyde’s substance profile and listing in the 12th RoC. This report presents the findings and conclusions of the committee formed in response to the congressional request. Because there is sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity from studies in humans that indicates a causal relationship between exposure to formaldehyde and at least one type of human cancer, the committee concludes that formaldehyde should be listed in the RoC as "known to be a human carcinogen."