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Formaldehyde Ban - Update


FAREG who lead the registration group for the formaldehyde industry until June 2007 felt that due to the lack of interest and financial support from the industry there would be little point in continuing the registration process. FAREG notified the European Biocides Directive (EBD) its intent to withdraw its filing and EBD duly notified the industry of the time plan.

This has serious yet positive implications for the European funeral industry where formaldehyde is being used less and less (Category PT22). However a UK based subsidiary of a US funeral services company filed to support this Class 1 Carcinogen in a last ditch attempt to avoid an immediate Europe wide ban. This support seems to be in the face of growing evidence that formaldehyde is responsible for cancer growth and the development of allergic reactions within humans. This un-named company will now have to stop supplying this toxic chemical after November 2008. Belgium, France, Holland and Japan have already banned formaldehyde.

Some companies are more enlightened, within Europe some of the largest suppliers to the funeral industry accept that there is no need to supply formaldehyde and have switched to supplying a product called Aardbalm, a non-toxic alternative. Further to this distribution by Hygeco, Facultatieve and Lear Barbers, Dignity Plc the largest listed funeral service company has made Aardbalm’s usage mandatory for all post death pre-burial sanitisations (embalming). It must be said here that the Co-Op which despite its “UK” and “Green” credentials stills prefers to buy toxic chemicals from the American company.

November 2008 is an important date for the future of a necessary and yet un-sung industry. Not only will formaldehyde be banned but employees within the funeral industry will benefit from the improved working conditions and by retaining the sensible practice of sanitisation (embalming) the funeral industry will continue to reduce the overall risk of the spread of disease, whilst reducing reliance on ventilation and refrigeration which greatly contribute to the emission of green house gasses.

The funeral industry itself is showing that green technology can be used positively in many different ways and by refusing to support an American company selling toxic products, but yet still retaining what is deemed best practice; the future for the European funeral industry is looking positive.


 Formaldehyde Ban
 Toxic Chemicals
 Green Technology
 Funeral Industry

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