LIFE16 ENV/ES/000232

Project description   Environmental issues   Beneficiaries   Administrative data   Print   PDF version  

Contact details:

Contact person: Monica MADROÑERO
Tel: +34 607 914 049
Email: monica_madronero@quironprevencion.com

Project description:


Formaldehyde is a carcinogenic compound used in the manufacture of resins and adhesives for the treatment of wood products, pulp, paper, glass wool and rock, and for the finishing of plastics and coatings, textiles and insulation. It is also used as a disinfectant and preservative, and as a precursor and industrial additive. As a hazardous substance, the use of formaldehyde is strictly controlled. Formaldehyde is classified in the EU as carcinogenic.

Annual production of formaldehyde in the EU exceeds 3.6 million tonnes, around 22% of worldwide production, according to IHS Markit’s Chemicals Economic Handbook. According to the European Chemical Industry Council, 22 of the current EU28 produce and process formaldehyde, giving rise to the direct employment of 30 000 workers and 100 000 indirectly. Secondary industries, such as the manufacture of chipboard and furniture, employ more than 5 million people. Many other sectors also use formaldehyde.

Formaldehyde is a colourless gas at room temperature and is soluble in water. It is characterised by its high reactivity, toxicity and capacity to cause irritation to the mucous membrane, resulting in breathing difficulties. If exposure is high, there is a risk of pulmonary enema and pneumonitis. Ingestion can be fatal while long-term, low-level exposure can cause respiratory complications.


The main objective of the SENSSEI project is to minimise environmental and health impacts linked to occupational exposure to formaldehyde in various sectors, especially through indoor air concentrations. The project will develop and demonstrate a real-time formaldehyde monitoring and alarm system to be tested in the timber industry. The system will consist of:

  • A detection unit that operates continuously in the factory, retrieving formaldehyde samples;
  • A process unit that analyses formaldehyde concentration levels;
  • An alarm unit, which is triggered when formaldehyde concentration limits are exceeded; and
  • A data storage and business intelligence unit, which enables analysis of the collected data (coloured maps, operation reports, statistics, etc.).
  • Data from the monitoring system will be used to develop new health protection strategies and protocols for industry. In addition, the project will develop a series of methodological guidelines to underpin the replication of the approach in three other sectors: tyre manufacturing, the automotive industry and hospitals.

    The project is in line with the EU Safety and Health at Work Directive and will contribute to the implementation of the Industrial Emissions Directive (IED) 2010/75/UE, given that its results will be of use when updating Best Available Techniques Reference Documents (BREFs) for the production of wood-based panels, surface treatment using organic solvents and the production of pulp, paper and cardboard.

    Expected results:

  • A real-time formaldehyde monitoring and alarm system;
  • New occupational health and safety strategies to manage concentrations of and exposure to formaldehyde;
  • Two production lines equipped with the SENSSEI system, leading to a 20% reduction in the workforce’s exposure to formaldehyde and an 80% reduction in the concentration of formaldehyde in air at the facilities;
  • Develop guidelines for the replication of the system in four sectors: timber, tyre manufacturing, automotive (other components) and hospitals;
  • A business plan for commercial exploitation of the system; and
  • A replication plan for application of the system in other sectors, with the following objectives: o A 20% reduction in the workforce’s exposure to formaldehyde in the timber industry; o An 80% reduction in the concentration of formaldehyde in air in the timber industry; o Limitation to 0.3 ppm of the workforce’s exposure to formaldehyde in formaldehyde factories, other facilities covered by the Industrial Emissions Directive and hospitals; o Limitation to 0.03 ppm of the concentration of formaldehyde in air in formaldehyde factories and other facilities covered by the Industrial Emissions Directive; o Reduction by 75% of the workforce’s exposure to formaldehyde in hospitals (pathological anatomy); o Reduction by 10% of sick days related to formaldehyde exposure in the workplace; o Reduction by 10% of the formaldehyde-related cancer incidence; and o A saving of €700 million in healthcare and overall costs related to the health effects of formaldehyde.



Environmental issues addressed:


Risk management - Human health protection
Risk management - Industrial risks - Hazardous substances


human exposure to pollutants‚  working condition‚  monitoring system‚  air quality management‚  air pollution‚  safety measure

Target EU Legislation

  • Industry and Product Policy
  • Directive 2010/75 - Industrial emissions (integrated pollution prevention and control) (24.11.201 ...

Natura 2000 sites

Not applicable



Type of organisation International enterprise
Description PREMAP Seguridad y Salud, S.L.U is an international occupational health and safety consultancy.


Project reference LIFE16 ENV/ES/000232
Duration 01-SEP-2017 to 31-MAR -2020
Total budget 1,537,313.00 €
EU contribution 916,628.00 €
Project location Galicia(España) Aragón(España)


Project description   Environmental issues   Beneficiaries   Administrative data   Read more   Print   PDF version