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Formaldehyde Litigation! The new Asbestosis?


Embalmers in Europe and the US have begun litigation against their employers over exposure to formaldehyde at work.

Both OSHA and European Health and Safety Executives are beginning to investigate claims of embalmers being exposed to unacceptably high levels of this well known and soon to be banned carcinogen (November 2008 – Europe only). If it is found to be true that litigation has been avoided this could lead to high fines and even higher insurance compensation.

The investigation into the suspected breaches in exposure regulations began with FEMA Trailers during 2007 in the US and has since spread to all areas of formaldehyde usage. In Europe there are now several cases of embalmers suffering severe respiratory problems bringing actions against their employers. Whilst in the US there is now substantial current litigation with legislation being drawn up by Congresswoman Watson of the 33rd Congressional District aimed at restricting the use of formaldehyde.

In Europe the situation for formaldehyde is a little clearer with the last and final date we are told set for November 1st 2008. The large US formaldehyde suppliers for the funeral industry have already advised the European Funeral Industry that they will not support formaldehydes application for use within PT22 (embalming), as they do not expect any approvals to be forthcoming. Or as reported to the UK’s BIE British Institute of Embalming, “Why waste money!”

Once the November deadline is passed will formaldehyde become the new Asbestosis?

According to several leading US and European Compensation Law Firms, this is already a fact, with some Funeral companies already paying claims before actions are lodged or the regulatory bodies are contacted. However once the November deadline is passed will insurance companies have to pay up?

If you know anyone within the Funeral Industry who has made a claim or wishes to make a claim against their employers and needs to seek legal advice please contact James Guernsey at


 Formaldehyde Ban
 Insurance Risk
 Health and Safety

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