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From: Steve Harris <>
Subject: Re: confounding variable is formaldehyde from methanol from aspartame, 
	smoke, wines and liquors, pectins in fruits and vegetables: Murray 
Date: 2 Jun 2005 17:36:53 -0700
Message-ID: <>

>>In humans, ingested or inhaled methanol is always quickly largely converted
into formaldehyde and thence largely into formic acid.
These are both potent cumulative toxins that must affect every cell
type, thus aggravating every disease process. <<


Boloney, boloney, boloney.  If this statement above was anywhere close
to being true, then mortality among chronic formaldehyde workers would
be vastly higher from every disease you can think of. They aren't.
Studies have really not been able to find any bad effects in particular
from the stuff.

It's counterintuitive, but that's just too bad. I'm sure SOME level of
formaldehyde is toxic. But it's FAR higher than the average person is
exposed to, because people who ARE exposed to far higher amounts of
formaldehyde than the average person is exposed to, seem to little
worse for it.

"The great tragedy of science - the slaying of a beautiful hypothesis
by an ugly fact." ---Thomas Huxley

J Natl Cancer Inst. 1986 Jun;76(6):1071-84.

Comment in:
    J Natl Cancer Inst. 1994 Oct 19;86(20):1556-8.

Mortality among industrial workers exposed to formaldehyde.

Blair A, Stewart P, O'Berg M, Gaffey W, Walrath J, Ward J, Bales R,
Kaplan S,
Cubit D.

A historical cohort study evaluated the mortality experience of 26,561
workers employed in 10 formaldehyde-producing or -using facilities.
Approximately 600,000 person-years of follow-up accrued as workers were
followed to January 1, 1980. Estimates of historical exposure to
formaldehyde by job were developed by project industrial hygienists using
monitoring data available from participating plants, comments from
long-term workers, and comprehensive monitoring data specifically
collected for this study. Mortality from all causes combined was about as
expected [standardized mortality ratio (SMR) = 96] based on mortality
rates of the general U.S. population. Significantly fewer deaths occurred
from infective and parasitic diseases (SMR = 51) and from accidents (SMR
= 72) than expected. Cancer overall was not related to formaldehyde
exposure. Workers exposed to formaldehyde had slight excesses for
Hodgkin's disease and cancers of the lung and prostate gland, but these
excesses were not consistently related to duration of or average,
cumulative, or peak formaldehyde exposure levels. Recent animal studies
found nasal cancer among rats exposed to formaldehyde, but no excess of
this tumor occurred in this study. Mortality from brain cancer and
leukemia among these industrial workers was not excessive in contrast to
reported excesses among professional groups (e.g., anatomists, embalmers,
and pathologists) with exposure to formaldehyde. Although there was a
deficit for cancer of the buccal cavity and pharynx, mortality from
certain subsites, i.e., the nasopharynx and oropharynx, was elevated.
These subsites did not, however, show a consistently rising risk with
level of exposure. These data provide little evidence that mortality from
cancer is associated with formaldehyde exposure at levels experienced by
workers in this study.

PMID: 3458945 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

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