A new study has revealed that people who work in construction or agriculture may have cognitive issues.

Formaldehyde (a pungent-smelling, colorless gas) is used commonly as an industrial germicide, disinfectant and fungicide.

The University of Montpellier in France led a team of scientists that found that those exposed to the gas had lower cognitive scores than those who did not breathe in potentially harmful fumes.

This study involved 75,322 French citizens with an average of 25 years old. 6,026 participants were trained with formaldehyde. 

After several cognitive tests, it was found that those exposed to formaldehyde at work had an average risk of developing memory and thinking difficulties of 17 percent. 

They were nurses, caregivers and medical technicians.

Following several cognitive tests, researchers found people who were exposed to formaldehyde on the job had, on average, a 17 percent higher risk of having thinking and memory problems compared to those who were not exposed

After several cognitive tests, it was found that those exposed to formaldehyde at work had an average risk of developing memory and thinking difficulties by 17 percent.

Noemie Letellier (Ph.D.), from the University of Montpellier, France said that formaldehyde exposure has been associated with certain types of cancers. Furthermore, our findings suggest that low levels of formaldehyde may also be linked to lower cognitive function. 

“People working with formaldehyde might want to be aware of the dangers and may consider taking precautions. Businesses may look into ways they can reduce their exposure. 

To begin the research, participants were first organized into three equal groups according to their years of exposure to formaldehyde.

Medium was between 7 and 21 years old, high was 22 to more years. 

The study was conducted among 75,322 people in France with an average age of 25 and 6,026 of the participants worked with formaldehyde. Their occupations included nurses, caregivers, medical technicians, workers in the textile, chemistry and metal industries, carpenters and cleaners

It was done among 75,322 participants in France. The average age of these people was 25. Formaldehyde exposure occurred for 6,026. These people were all nurses, caregivers or medical techniecs. They also worked in the textile, metal, and chemistry industries as well as carpenters, cleaners, and other related occupations.

The participants were divided into 3 groups based upon their cumulative exposure. This is the amount of formaldehyde that a person has been exposed to in their entire lifetime, judging by the frequency, intensity, and probability of their exposure.

The researches used seven cognitive tests involving word recall, memory, attention, reasoning and other thinking skills, to assess each domain and to come up with a global cognitive score.

And those exposed to formaldehyde had a 17 percent risk of issues with every type of cognitive function the researchers tested.

One of the tests, for example, asked participants to match symbols to numbers according to a key located on the top of the page, and it had a maximum possible score of 135.

An average score for the group not exposed was 66, while that of formaldehyde-exposed group had a score of just 63.

Formaldehyde exposure for more than 22 years was associated with a 21% higher chance of cognitive impairment in the long-term than those who had never been exposed. 

The risk of cognitive impairment for workers exposed to the most formaldehyde was 19% higher than that of those not exposed.

Letellier explained that formaldehyde usage has been declining over the years. However, our findings show that many people continue to work in areas where they are exposed and could be susceptible to cognitive impairment.