Effects on human health of formaldehyde: from reactive airway diseases (bronchial asthma and allergy) to cancer. A protocol for an umbrella review of systematic reviews and meta-analyses

  • Giuseppe La Torre
  • Tania Vitello
  • Rosario Cocchiara
  • Sabina Sernia
Keywords: human health, formaldehyde, reactive airway disease, bronchial asthma, allergy, cancer, umbrella review


Formaldehyde is an organic compound and the simplest form of aldehyde, and is one of the most common indoor pollutants. Since early ’80, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) recommends that formaldehyde should be considered a potential occupational carcinogen and that appropriate measures should be undertaken to reduce workers’ exposure.

The aim of this research is to systematically review the literature about the association between formaldehyde exposure and reactive airway diseases (like asthma and allergy) and the association between formaldehyde exposure and cancer.

Identification of relevant studies to this review will be achieved by electronic databases search of the published literature including: PubMed, Scopus, Web of Science electronic databases. The following keywords will be used: (Formaldehyde) AND (Cancer OR tumor OR neoplasm OR malign); (Formaldehyde) AND (asthma OR allergy OR reactive airway disease).

This umbrella review will furnish a wide overview about the evidences of potential inflammatory and carcinogenetic effects due to formaldehyde exposure