Conclusions and Future Directions
This chapter concludes and condenses the major contents and findings presented in this book on formaldehyde exposure, regulation, toxicity and mechanisms, and adverse health effects. Formaldehyde’s major exposure sources, routes, and governmental regulations are summarized. The genotoxicity, hematotoxicity, neurotoxicity, and reproductive/developmental toxicities associated with exposure to formaldehyde are further discussed, along with their potential mechanisms. These toxicity-related critical health implications are abridged with a focus on leukemia, brain tumors, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, and pediatric disease. After highlighting recent advances, the key directions for future formaldehyde research are suggested. Further studies are recommended: (1) to explore biological properties, physiological roles and downstream fate of endogenous and exogenous formaldehyde; (2) to improve exposure characterization studies; (3) to expand hematopoietic stem and progenitor cell toxicities from the bone marrow to the nose and lungs; (4) to uncover mechanistic pathways of DNA–protein crosslink repair; (5) to investigate formaldehyde’s involvement in neurodegeneration and potential mechanisms; (6) to conduct further studies in developmental toxicity; and, (7) to further understand the adverse impacts of formaldehyde exposure in children.