New Restricting Measures for Formaldehyde Exposure in France
As of January 1st 2007, the well-known formaldehyde, used in many paint formulations
as a biocide, will be considered as if it was a carcinogen, Category 1 (Carcinogenic
to Humans) in the French legislation on workers safety.
This new legislation implements and activates for formaldehyde the measures to protect
workers potentially exposed to carcinogenic agents at the workplace.
Requirements from French Legislation on Workers Safety*
This Directive specifies a large number of risk reduction measures for all activities
exposing workers to formaldehyde (including the handling of formaldehyde releasers
or product containing it). The employer has the following obligations:
- Risk evaluation, information to workers, monitoring, medical measures
- Substitution of formaldehyde or formaldehyde releasing agents whenever it is technically
Under this new Directive, if a substitution is not technically possible, it is necessary
to apply a closed system. When a closed system is neither technically possible,
levels have to be kept as low as possible.
*Code du travail, sub-section 6, Article R231-56
The vast majority of paints and coatings manufacturers interviewed are substituting
formaldehyde and formaldehyde releasers in their formulations. More than just a
change of their biocide, it impacts their plant procedure.
Formaldehyde’s Benefits and suggested Alternatives to Use in Paints and other
The main three benefits of formaldehyde are known to be head-space protection, speed
of kill and to have a broad spectrum of activity. They cannot be achieved with one
What is needed is a change of procedures in the plant coupled with the right choice
To learn more about this legislation, contact:
Ministère de l’écologie et du développement durable DPPR/SDPD/Bureau
des Substances et Préparations Chimiques
Address: 20 avenue de Segur F - 75302 Paris 07