Meeting report: summary of IARC monographs on formaldehyde, 2-butoxyethanol, and 1-tert-butoxy-2-propanol

Environ Health Perspect. 2005 Sep;113(9):1205-8. doi: 10.1289/ehp.7542.


An international, interdisciplinary working group of expert scientists met in June 2004 to develop IARC Monographs on the Evaluation of the Carcinogenic Risk of Chemicals to Humans (IARC Monographs) on formaldehyde, 2-butoxyethanol, and 1-tert-butoxy-2-propanol. Each IARC Monograph includes a critical review of the pertinent scientific literature and an evaluation of an agent's potential to cause cancer in humans. After a thorough discussion of the epidemiologic, experimental, and other relevant data, the working group concluded that formaldehyde is carcinogenic to humans, based on sufficient evidence in humans and in experimental animals. In the epidemiologic studies, there was sufficient evidence that formaldehyde causes nasopharyngeal cancer, "strong but not sufficient" evidence of leukemia, and limited evidence of sinonasal cancer. The working group also concluded that 2-butoxyethanol and 1-tert-butoxy-2-propanol are not classifiable as to their carcinogenicity to humans, each having limited evidence in experimental animals and inadequate evidence in humans. These three evaluations and the supporting data will be published as Volume 88 of the IARC Monographs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Carcinogens, Environmental / classification*
  • Carcinogens, Environmental / toxicity*
  • Disinfectants / toxicity
  • Ethylene Glycols / toxicity*
  • Fixatives / toxicity
  • Formaldehyde / toxicity*
  • Humans
  • International Agencies
  • Leukemia / etiology
  • Nasopharyngeal Neoplasms / chemically induced
  • Nasopharyngeal Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Occupational Exposure
  • Propylene Glycols / toxicity*
  • Solvents / toxicity


  • Carcinogens, Environmental
  • Disinfectants
  • Ethylene Glycols
  • Fixatives
  • Propylene Glycols
  • Solvents
  • Formaldehyde
  • n-butoxy-2-propanol
  • n-butoxyethanol