Portable Sanitation Association International

Association Insight August 23 2017

Issue link: http://psai.uberflip.com/i/865272

Contents of this Issue


Page 0 of 10

WEEKLY EDITION August 23, 2017 What You Need to Know about Formaldehyde By PSAI Executive Director Karleen Kos Formaldehyde is the main ingredient in many commonly available deodorizers in the portable sanitation industry. These products are especially popular in very warm regions and areas where disposal is not challenging. Some operators swear by them as the most effective for dealing with odor. At the same time, formaldehyde is known to cause cancer (see International Agency for Research on Cancer references here and a publication from as far back as 1905 here ), and it can be difficult to dispose. A recent disc ussion on Facebook regarding formaldehyde products in portable sanitation engendered some lively discussion. So we thought it was important to bring you unbiased facts and information relevant to our industry. Formaldehyde Basics The US Occupational Safet y and Health Administration (OSHA) describes the properties, manufacture, and uses of formaldehyde as follows. The chemical "formaldehyde" is a colorless, pungent gas at room temperature with an approximate odor threshold of about 1 ppm [Ex. 73 - 120]. While the term "formaldehyde" is also used to describe various mixtures of formaldehyde, water, and alcohol, the term "formalin" more precisely describes aqueous solutions, particularly those containing 37 to 50 per cent formaldehyde and 6 to 15 percent alcohol stabilizer. Most formaldehyde enters commerce as formalin. […] […] Formaldehyde has four basic uses: as an intermediate in the production of resins; as an intermediate in the production of industrial chemi cals; as a bactericide or fungicide; and as a component in the formulation of end - use consumer items. […] Formaldehyde destroys bacteria, fungi, molds, and yeast. Its commercial importance as a fungicide is probably its greatest use as a disinfectant [ Ex. 70 - 2]. Because of its bactericidal properties, formaldehyde is used in numerous cosmetic preparations. Formaldehyde's uses can lead to widespread exposure in downstream industries. For example, when f ormaldehyde is present in disinfectants, preservatives, and embalming fluid, worker exposure can occur. […] The US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) also explain : • Plants, animals, and humans naturally produce small amounts of formaldehyde. • Once formaldehyde is in the air, it is quickly broken down, usually within hours. • Formaldehyde dissolves easily but does not last a long time in water. • Formaldehyde evaporates from shallow soils. • Formaldehyde does not build up in plants and animals. CONTINUED ON PAGE 2

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

view archives of Portable Sanitation Association International - Association Insight August 23 2017