The Australian Work Exposures Study (AWES) was a national survey conducted in 2011–12 that investigated work-related exposures among Australian workers to 38 known or suspected carcinogens. Formaldehyde is classified as a known human carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) and the work described in this report uses AWES data to:
- estimate the prevalence of work-related exposure to formaldehyde during relatively common workplace activities
- identify the main circumstances of those exposures, and
- identify the use of workplace control measures designed to decrease those exposures.
This report describes those exposures that occur when typical work activities are carried out by Australian workers - it does not specifically focus on industries suspected of high formaldehyde exposure. This report has been written to inform public debate and the development of work health and safety policy.