Formaldehyde Testing

Formaldehyde Exposures Liked to Cancers in the Funeral Home Industry

Formaldehyde as most know is considered a carcinogen and is well known linked to wood flooring, paneling, modular homes etc. What you might not have known is that it is linked to cancers in those who work in the funeral home industry. Formaldehyde exposure is a normal occurrence in this industry.

The National Cancer Institute performed a controlled case study among the funeral industry. The study revealed an association between increasing formaldehyde exposure and mortality from leukemia and other cancers. Those dealing directly with embalming were considered to be at an higher risk for brain cancer and leukemia compared to the general population. Myeloid leukemia specifically was found in the case study.

The National Funeral Directors Association issued Formaldehyde Best Management Practices to assist with safety measures to reduce formaldehyde exposure. Some of these measures includes adequate and effective ventilation in the preparation room, the use of proper embalming products and limiting the exposure to formaldehyde during the preparation. Also, performing air monitoring can help determine if there is a risk of formaldehyde exposure to ensure the exposure of formaldehyde does not exceed OSHA’s current standard of airborne concentration.

For more information on this study and the BMPs, click on the links below.


Looking for a passive monitor sampling method that

requires no special equipment or expert knowledge?

Analytics offers the SKC-brand UMEX passive monitor
for the determination of formaldehyde in indoor air.
The monitor is chemically treated to collect formaldehyde,
with a recommended sampling time of 4 to 24 hours to
represent occupational or residential exposures.

For trailers, new buildings, etc. just place the monitor in
the living/working area of the room, at breathing zone
height. NOTE: Passive monitors require active air
circulation, and so may require the HVAC fan (or other
circulating fans) to run non-stop during sampling.

UMEX monitors should be kept cool (refrigerator or
freezer) before and after sampling for best results.  A
blank (unused) monitor should be submitted with each
sample set for use as a control. Blanks are handled and
charged the same as samples.

The DNPH-treated sampler is analyzed by High
Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC), the most
sensitive method currently in routine use. It should be
noted that ketones (such as acetone) and other aldehydes
can interfere with this method. Any other compounds
suspected in the sampling area should be noted on the
Chain of Custody (CoC) form.

Ship samples by overnight courier in a cooler. Samples
collected on Fridays or weekends can ship the following

Below are suggested times for sampling and the
measurement sensitivity for each sampling time.  These
are not the only options for formaldehyde sampling.  For
more information, please contact us at 800-888-8061. 


(Passive Monitor)

Sampling Times Passive Media 


4 Hours 20 ppb (or 0.02 ppm)
8 Hours 10 ppb (or 0.010 ppm)
24 Hours 2 ppb (or 0.002 ppm)