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Monday, September 21, 2015

Formalin Dangger, Know More About Formalin (Formaldehyde)

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Not sure if you are aware that many Asian countries are having problem with the common use of formaldehyde (formalin) to preserve fresh or uncooked food. In Indonesia the problem has been going on for a long time. The authority did catch some perpetrators or food suppliers and many fishermen who use diluted formaldehyde to preserve tofu (tahu), wet noodles, fresh chicken, and particularly fish or sea food. Most fishermen, food suppliers do not own good refrigeration system to keep their food fresh, and formaldehyde is plentiful and very cheap. The local publications publish such news from time to time, but did not make it to the English paper headlines. However the Indonesian Kompas newspaper once published their finding and claimed that nearly 90% of the salted fish sold in Jakarta contains formaldehyde, and 9 out of 12 tofu they purchased from various markets are tested positive. Things have improved slightly, but not enough.

Last month a vessel (Bintang Batavia I) carrying fish was caught by the marine police. 139.38 tons of fish, including salmon were found to be contaminated or preserved with formaldehyde. The captain and the seafood company owner were fined.

There is a Gov Food & Drug Agency here called Badan Pengawas Obat dan Makan (BPOM), but they are without teeth and power. They acknowledge that the national formaldehyde problem is not resolved so far. There has been been improved testing method, but it is not enough and is too little. Most locals do not understand and therefore lack of awareness about the serious damage of ingesting formaldehyde in a long run. The consumers have not been demanding enough and the law enforcement is still weak.

The root of the problem is from the food producers and suppliers or fishermen. The restaurants and supermarkets buy from them and serve it to their customers. One of the welknown big supermarkets fish counter staff acknowledged that some of their seafood had been found with formaldehyde when tested by BPOM.

What is formaldehyde?

Formaldehyde is a colorless, strong-smelling gas used in making building materials and many household products. It is used in pressed-wood products, such as particleboard, plywood, and fiberboard; glues and adhesives; permanent-press fabrics; paper product coatings; and certain insulation materials. It is also used to make other chemicals.

Formaldehyde is quickly broken down in the air – generally within hours. It dissolves easily in water, but does not last long there, either.

When dissolved in water it is called formalin, which is commonly used as an industrial disinfectant, and as a preservative in funeral homes and medical labs. It can also be used as a preservative in some foods and in products, such as antiseptics, medicines, and cosmetics. Sometimes, although formaldehyde is not used, substances that release formaldehyde are. These have been found in cosmetics, soaps, shampoos, lotions and sunscreens, and cleaning products.

Formaldehyde can be added as a preservative to food, but it can also be produced as the result of cooking and smoking.

Formaldehyde also occurs naturally in the environment. Humans and most other living organisms make small amounts as part of normal metabolic processes.

How are people exposed to formaldehyde?

The main way people are exposed to formaldehyde is by inhaling it. The liquid form can be absorbed through the skin. People can also be exposed to small amounts by eating foods or drinking liquids containing formaldehyde.

Formaldehyde is normally made in the body. Enzymes in the body break down formaldehyde into formate (formic acid), which can be further broken down into carbon dioxide. Most inhaled formaldehyde is broken down by the cells lining the mouth, nose, throat, and airways, so that less than a third is absorbed into the blood.

According to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, formaldehyde is normally present at low levels (less than 0.03 parts per million) in both indoor and outdoor air. Materials containing formaldehyde can release it as a gas or vapor into the air. Automobile exhaust is a major source of formaldehyde in outdoor air.

During the 1970s, urea-formaldehyde foam insulation (UFFI) was used in many homes. But few homes are now insulated with UFFI. Homes in which UFFI was installed many years ago are not likely to have high formaldehyde levels now.

Pressed-wood products containing formaldehyde resins are often a source of formaldehyde in homes. Using unvented fuel-burning appliances, such as gas stoves, wood-burning stoves, and kerosene heaters can also raise formaldehyde levels indoors.

Formaldehyde is also a component of tobacco smoke and both smokers and those breathing secondhand smoke are exposed to higher levels of formaldehyde. One study found much higher levels of formaldehyde bound to DNA in the white blood cells of smokers compared to non-smokers.

Formaldehyde and other chemicals that release formaldehyde are sometimes used in low concentrations in cosmetics and other personal care products like lotions, shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, and some fingernail polishes. These may raise the concentration of formaldehyde in the air inside the room for a short time, but the levels reached are far below what is considered to be hazardous.

Professional keratin hair smoothing treatments can contain formaldehyde or formaldehyde releasing chemicals. Using these can raise indoor air concentrations of formaldehyde to levels that could be a potential hazard.

Workers in industries that make formaldehyde or formaldehyde-containing products, lab technicians, some health care professionals, and funeral home employees may be exposed to higher levels of formaldehyde than the general public. Exposure occurs mainly by inhaling formaldehyde gas or vapor from the air or by absorbing liquids containing formaldehyde through the skin. In one large study of workers in industries that make or use formaldehyde, the average level of formaldehyde exposure was 0.45 parts per million (ppm) overall, with less than 3% of workers experiencing more than 2 ppm on average.

Can formaldehyde cause cancer?

Exposure to formaldehyde has been shown to cause cancer in laboratory test animals. Exposure to relatively high amounts of formaldehyde in medical and occupational settings has been linked to some types of cancer in humans, but the effect of exposure to small amounts is less clear.

Several agencies (national and international) study different substances in the environment to determine if they can cause cancer. (A substance that causes cancer or helps cancer grow is called a carcinogen.) The American Cancer Society looks to these organizations to evaluate the risks based on evidence from laboratory, animal, and human research studies.

Based on the available evidence, some of these expert agencies have evaluated the cancer-causing potential of formaldehyde.

The National Toxicology Program (NTP) is formed from parts of several different US government agencies, including the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The NTP lists formaldehyde as "known to be a human carcinogen."

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) is part of the World Health Organization (WHO). Its major goal is to identify causes of cancer. IARC has concluded that formaldehyde is "carcinogenic to humans" based on higher risks of nasopharyngeal cancer and leukemia.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) maintains the Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS), an electronic database that contains information on human health effects from exposure to various substances in the environment. The EPA has classified formaldehyde as a "probable human carcinogen."

National Cancer Institute researchers have concluded that, based on data from studies in people and from lab research, exposure to formaldehyde may cause leukemia, particularly myeloid leukemia, in humans.

Does formaldehyde cause any other health problems?

When formaldehyde is present in the air at levels higher than 0.1 parts per million (ppm), some people may have health effects, such as:
  1. watery eyes
  2. burning sensations of the eyes, nose, and throat
  3. coughing
  4. wheezing
  5. nausea
  6. skin irritation
Some people are very sensitive to formaldehyde, but others have no reaction to the same level of exposure.

Formaldehyde in consumer products such as cosmetics and lotions can cause an allergic reaction in the skin (allergic contact dermatitis), which can lead to an itchy, red rash which may become raised or develop blisters.

==>> Article cited from some reference

This page concern to food sciences, nutrition and additives topics. The information provides thorough and up-to-date information, covering a broad range of topics in the food science and technology. Topics covered include: Food industry, food groups and composition, food chemistry, food processing and preservation, food laws and regulations, food microbiology and fermentation, food safety, food toxicology, food biotechnology, sensory evaluation, and food product development.

OTHERS INFO: A lot of information about Easy Test Kit Product can you read detail at Easy Test Kit Website and a lot of information on the use of formalin (formaldehyde) in food or beverages in Indonesia (including some other hazardous materials) can read details on THIS WEB.

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