Formaldehyde-associated Brain Tumors
The cause of most brain tumors remains largely unknown, however, environmental factors, such as exposures to toxic chemicals, are suggested. Numerous epidemiologic studies have assessed the long-term health effects of formaldehyde exposure and revealed a surprising association between formaldehyde exposure and brain cancer, particularly among professionals such as anatomists, pathologists, as well as embalmers. Two meta-analyses have concluded that there is an association between formaldehyde exposure and increased risk of a brain tumor among professionals, but not for industrial workers. More studies are needed to confirm current findings, to further explore the link in highly exposed industrial chemical workers, and to investigate underlying mechanisms. Brain cancer represents a devastating, life-ending diagnosis; links to environmental exposures highlight an emerging global public health concern.