Cancer warning: Formaldehyde is a human carcinogen that’s found in ‘many’ household items


Looking inside every home and you will find a bevy of things that can go wrong. The pipe may burst, the boiler may break, the fuse may blow – these are just a few of the things that can go wrong. What a person may not think of when they think of their home is cancer. However, some carcinogens can be present in the cleaning products people use on their homes.

The information on the risks of cancer in the home comes from Cancer Factfinder – a website that specialises in reviewing cancer risks found on the internet.

In the case of household items they warn about the chemical Formaldehyde.

This, informs Cancer Factfinder, “is a colourless, flammable, strong-smelling chemical that is used in building materials and in the production of many household products”.

It also adds that it is a known “human carcinogen” meaning that if it makes its way into a person’s body their risk of cancer is increased.

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On how it makes its way into the immune system, it says exposure “mainly occurs by inhaling the gas or absorbing liquids containing formaldehyde through the skin.

“Short-term health effects of exposure are watery eyes; burning sensations in the eyes, nose, throat; coughing, wheezing; nausea, and skin irritation”.

Formaldehyde doesn’t just occur when a person breathes in fumes from cleaning products.

It occurs when people are exposed to car exhausts, cigarette smoke, gas stoves, wood-burning stoves, kerosene heaters, and pressed-wood products.


Other studies have also found cannabis is effective against prostate and colon cancer.

Ms Howes added: “If we can show how we can source new medicines from nature by unlocking the useful properties of plants, then we help treat disease, but we also demonstrate the value of biodiversity and provide an incentive for people to protect it.”

The natural world then, could be the key to saving more lives from cancer.

More information on cancer can be found via your GP or the NHS website.



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