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Exposure to Formaldehyde at Work Linked to Cognitive Problems Later

MINNEAPOLIS, Dec. 22, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — A variety of jobs expose people to formaldehyde, a strong-smelling gas used in manufacturing wood and chemical products, plastics and in other applications. A new study suggests that long-term exposure to formaldehyde during work may be associated with cognitive impairment later on. The research is published in the December 22, 2021, online issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

“We know that exposure to formaldehyde has been linked to certain cancers, and our results suggest that exposure to low amounts of formaldehyde also may be associated with lower level of cognitive functioning,” said study author Noemie Letellier, PhD, of the University of Montpellier in France. “People whose work exposes them to formaldehyde may want to take precautions, and companies may want to look at ways to reduce workers’ exposure to the hazardous chemical.”

The study looked at 75,322 people in France with an average age of 58. Of those, 8%, or 6,026, were exposed to formaldehyde during their working life. Their occupations included nurses, caregivers, medical technicians, workers in the textile, chemistry and metal industries, carpenters and cleaners.

Lifetime formaldehyde exposure was calculated with a tool used to estimate a person’s exposure to potential health hazards in different occupations. People were split into three equal groups according to their years of exposure to formaldehyde; …

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