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Slooff W ; Bont PFH ; Janus JA ; Loos B

48 p in Dutch   1992

Toon Nederlands

English Abstract
This report contains general information on formaldehyde concerning the current standards and guidelines, emissions, exposure levels and effect levels. The document is to be considered as a start for the national discussion during an exploratory meeting to determine whether evaluation at the level of an integrated criteria document is required. Formaldehyde is naturally produced as a degradation product of methane largely determining the background concentration at the global scale. Regionally and locally other sources are important: in the Netherlands the most important emission source to surface water is the chemical industry whereas to air the use as disinfectant (lifestock farming) and combustion processes (traffic) play an important role. Information on the occurrence of formaldehyde in the various environmental compartments is very limited, hampering a sound risk evaluation. Based on animal data formaldehyde is considered to be a carcinogen, causing tumours on the side of entry (nasal cavity). The threshold value is assumed to correspond with the threshold value for cytotoxic effects. For inhalatory exposure the recommendation of the Health Council is followed (95 and 98 percentile 24 hr average of 30 and 40 mug.m-3, respectively). Based on model calculations these values may be exceeded in hundreds of streets on kerbsides and near building facades in inner cities due to traffic. Also in the indoor environment the limit values may be exceeded, probably largely as a result of indoor emission sources like smoking, and building and insulation materials. In contrast to this the risk of oral exposure through food and drinking water is considered negligible. The aquatic ecosystems may be at risk in the vicinity of the major point sources, whereas effects on vegetation alongside busy traffic roads can not be excluded. Taking into account the uncertainties in the exposure levels it is recommended to initiate a measuring programme to determine the exposure levels in outdoor air and water at strategic sites. Further the estimated emission figures on livestock farming need to be checked.


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( 1992-10-31 )