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Formaldehyde is chemical used in the workplace.  This chemical has been linked to industrial injuries.  This article will discuss formaldehyde exposure and workers’ compensation.

What Is Formaldehyde?

The CDC identifies Formaldehyde (CH₂O) is a colorless, highly toxic, and flammable gas at room temperature.

What Are the Medical Complications with Respect to Formaldyhyde Exposure?

Exposure to formaldehyde can irritate the skin, throat, lungs, and eyes. Repeated exposure to formaldehyde can possibly lead to cancer.

Can Workers Be Injured By Formaldehyde?

Workers may be harmed by exposure to formaldehyde. The level of exposure depends upon the dose, duration, and contact. In workers’ compensation, there is the concept of a cumulative trauma injury.  Therefore, Injured Workers are allowed to claim an injury that occurs over a period of time.  As such, a formaldehyde-related injury does not have to arise from a specific event, rather, it can also be due to working with the product over an extended period of time.

Where Are Workers Exposed to Formaldehyde?

Formaldehyde is used in many industries. It’s used in glues and resins, dyes, textiles, disinfectants, building materials, automobile parts, embalming, and laboratories.  A variety of workers can be exposed to formaldehyde, this included agricultural workers, construction workers, plant workers who manufacture plastics, resin or foam insulation, morticians, and beauticians.

The exposure can occur in many ways :“Formaldehyde was recognized as a human carcinogen by the IARC in 2004.3,4 Also, it is a raw chemical that is frequently employed as a disinfectant and preservative in various industries.5 Additionally, it is one of the primary components of many building materials such as wallpaper, wood, and paint, and it may even be produced in activities such as cooking and using electrical appliances.3,6 Pathologists, research and medical laboratory staffs are constantly exposed to gaseous formaldehyde because they use it as a tissue stabilizer, disinfectant, and preservative.7,8”   Hadi A, Niaei A, Seifi A, Rasoulzadeh Y. The impact of operational factors on degradation of formaldehyde as a human carcinogen using Ag3 PO4 /TiO2 photocatalyst. Health Promot Perspect. 2023 Apr 30;13(1):47-53. doi: 10.34172/hpp.2023.06. PMID: 37309430; PMCID: PMC10257563.

How Does An Injured Worker Know That They Have Been Exposed To Formaldehyde At Work?

One can ascertain this information by reading chemical labels as well as reading the Safety Data Sheets.  Useful search terms for formaldehyde include “methanal,” “methyl aldehyde,” “methylene oxide.”

How Does One Know To File a Claim?

The best initial step would be to consult with an attorney in such a matter.  As a lawyer for workers’ compensation claims, I do not often give this advice. Chemical exposure claims, however, are different. Unlike other claims,  a preliminary analysis of the facts and exposure can bring clarity as to whether there is a viable claim.

What if I Need Advice Regarding Workplace Formaldehyde Poisoning?

If you would like a free consultation regarding workers’ compensation, please contact the Law Offices of Edward J. Singer, a Professional Law Corporation. We have been helping people in Central and Southern California deal with their workers’ compensation cases for 30 years. Contact us today for more information.

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