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Nasal cancer in a worker exposed to formaldehyde.
Halperin WE; Goodman M; Stayner L; Elliott LJ; Keenlyside RA; Landrigan PJ
JAMA J Am Med Assoc 1983 Jan; 249(4):510-512
A case of nasal carcinoma involving occupational formaldehyde (50000) exposure was investigated. The patient was a 57 year old male, a cigarette smoker (36 pack years), who had been continuously exposed to formaldehyde in the fabric finishing industry for 25 years. Formaldehyde vapor in the air at such operations was measured at concentrations of 0.2 to 1.2 parts per million. Symptoms began with infrequent right facial and nasal discomfort at age 47. Three years later, he began occasionally to experience right sided epistaxis. At age 53, the frequency of facial pain increased and nasal obstruction developed. Examination showed bilateral nasal polyps in the middle meatus and a nasal tumor on the right side that extended along the floor and lateral wall of the nasal cavity to the nasopharynx. The cancer was a keratinizing squamous cell carcinoma with invasion of the underlying stroma. Treatment was by resection and postoperative radiation therapy. There was no clinical evidence of recurrence after 3 years. The authors note that the patient was also exposed to quenching oils and metal fumes, cigarette smoke, and some fabric dyeing. The occurrence of this case of nasal carcinoma does not establish that formaldehyde causes cancer of the nasal cavity in humans. However, the cancer is similar in anatomical site and histological features to those described in rats exposed experimentally to formaldehyde. Nasal cancers in workers exposed to formaldehyde must be investigated.
NIOSH-Author; Clinical-symptoms; Biological-effects; Toxic-effects; Carcinogenicity; Employee-exposure; Toxicology; Clinical-diagnosis; Tumorigenesis; Biological-factors
Issue of Publication
Journal of the American Medical Association
Page last reviewed: December 28, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division