Multi-Industry Letter Requesting HHS to Commission NAS Study
The Honorable Kathleen Sebelius
Department of Health & Human Services
200 Independence Avenue, S.W.
Washington, DC 20201
Dear Madam Secretary:
We are writing to request that you commission the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) to conduct a definitive study on the alleged link between formaldehyde exposure and leukemia.
Our request is driven by the need to settle the scientific controversy that has arisen since the National Toxicology Program (NTP) earlier this year issued a substance profile that asserts formaldehyde is a “known human carcinogen.” The NTP’s action contradicts the findings and conclusions of an NAS committee’s independent scientific review of a draft formaldehyde IRIS assessment from the Environmental Protection Agency. While we recognize that the NTP believes the NAS committee’s review is of limited applicability to its own formaldehyde evaluation, the fact that different federal agencies and bodies have issued differing pronouncements is leading to unnecessary public anxiety and significant, negative commercial consequences for the numerous uses and applications of this important chemical.
As producers, suppliers, and users of formaldehyde and/or products that use this chemical compound, we are directly impacted by the NTP’s action. Formaldehyde is a basic building block for many American industries. For example, it provides critical applications as an adhesive in a wide range of wood products and other building materials, ensures durability and an ability to withstand extreme temperatures in automobile and other transportation components, and renders bacteria and viruses inactive for the production and use of vaccines. According to a 2005 report prepared by Global Insight, formaldehyde and derivative products account for 600,000 direct and an additional 3,000,000 indirect jobs in the United States alone.
A definitive carcinogenicity hazard assessment on formaldehyde from the respected and independent NAS would lead to the government-wide policy consistency we are seeking. Furthermore, it is clearly in the public’s interest to get the science right. To these ends, we ask that you use your authority to commission an NAS study as soon as possible.
Thank you for your consideration of our request. Representatives of the undersigned groups would be pleased to meet with you or your staff in person to discuss our concerns in greater detail.
Aerospace Industries Association
Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers
American Chemistry Council
American Forest & Paper Association
American Wood Council
APA-The Engineered Wood Association
Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association
Composite Panel Association
Hardwood Plywood and Veneer Association
International Wood Products Association
Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association
Kitchen Cabinet Manufacturers Association
National Association of Chemical Distributors
National Association of Manufacturers
National Funeral Directors Association
National Petrochemical & Refiners Association
Pine Chemicals Association, Inc.
The Adhesive and Sealant Council
The Fertilizer Institute
United States Chamber of Commerce