Update on Formaldehyde


Update formaldehyde and the EU

On March 29 2019 the EU adopted a new amendment to directive 2004/37/EC which regulates the protection of workers from the risks related to exposure to carcinogens or mutagens at work.

In this amendment the use of formaldehyde is being allowed for workers in the healthcare sector, including embalming for funerals, under strict conditions:


The set values are:

  • for a transition period of 5 years: 0,62 mg/m3 (0,5ppm) for 8 hours exposure and 0,74 mg/m3 (0,6 ppm) for 15 min (peak exposure).


Thereafter the values have to be;

  • 0,37 mg/m3 (0,3 ppm) for 8 hours exposure and 0,74 mg/m3 (0,6 ppm) for peak exposures.


This will be implemented soon in the national legislation. Whether or not your institute already complies to these values depends on the MAC or exposure values applied in your country.


In the meantime the ECHA (European Chemicals Agency) assesses the potential exposure to formaldehyde and formaldehyde releasers at the workplace, including industrial and professional uses, which  has to be ready in 2022. The outcome of this assessment might lead to additional changes or recommendations for the use of formaldehyde. Of course the EAVA will keep you updated on this.