Long-term exposure to formaldehyde linked to cognitive impairment later in life

In the December issue of the journal Neurology, researchers discovered a link between the long-term exposure of formaldehyde in the workplace and cognitive impairment later in life.

Formaldehyde is a colorless gas utilized in the manufacturing of chemical products, as well as wood and plastics. It emits a strong smell and its long-term exposure may lead to serious health hazards.

The study examined over 70,000 people residing in France, with the average participant being in middle adulthood. Of the participants, only around 6,000, or 8 percent, were exposed to formaldehyde in the workplace.

Even upon adjusting for certain factors such as age, sex, and education, the people who were exposed to formaldehyde in the workplace had a 17 percent higher risk of memory and thinking problems.

“Workers who were exposed to formaldehyde for 22 years or longer had a 21% higher risk of global cognitive impairment compared to those who were never exposed,” a press release reads.

“Workers with the highest cumulative exposure to formaldehyde had a 19% greater risk on average of having cognitive impairment compared to those who had not been exposed,” the authors of the study concluded.