In mid-December 2016, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) and Women’s Voices for the Earth (WVE) sued the Food and Drug Administration for its failure to protect the public from dangers associated with popular hair straightening treatments.

Formaldehyde, a known human carcinogen is expected to be produced at a volume of 52 million metric tonnes in 2017. Seventy percent of the volume of formaldehyde is used in adhesive resins for interior and exterior building materials. Textile finishing is a second large use of formaldehyde.

Each of these uses can cause both acute irritation to workers and consumers, not to mention adding to the accelerating rates of cancer in the global population. Safer alternatives exist for several of these applications, including Columbia Forest Products Purebond Plywood and biomimetic treatments for cotton textiles. How do we increase their market adoption and remove a high-volume human carcinogen from the market?