Green News & Events

Ice Bucket Challenge Aside, Formaldehyde Triples ALS Risk

Last year’s ice bucket challenge raised more than $100 million for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis–better known as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease. But a recent study could be even more valuable, as it determines a connection between formaldehyde and ALS.

Harvard researchers followed 1.5 million people from 1973 until death, and determined that men who breathe in formaldehyde fumes in the workplace tripled their ALS risk. Funeral directors are most at risk.

The ice bucket challenge raised awareness about ALS, which damages the nerves, leading to paralysis and certain death. ALS affects 30,000 Americans.

But there’s not a lot of hoopla surrounding this study, which was recently published in the Journal of Neurology Neurosurgery & Psychiatry.

A probably human carcinogen, formaldehyde is found in flooring and particle board furniture, as well as nail polish, and as a preservative in shampoos and other sudsing products. It’s also used to preserve flowers.

This is yet another reason to avoid it like the plague.



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