The government has added formaldehyde to a list of known carcinogens, despite years of lobbying by the chemical industry. Formaldehyde is found in plastics and often used in plywood, particle board, mortuaries and hair salons. The government also said Friday that styrene, which is used in boats, bathtubs and in disposable foam plastic cups and plates, may cause cancer. The conservative billionaire Koch brothers have led the lobbying effort against labeling formaldehyde as a carcinogen. Georgia-Pacific, a subsidiary of Koch Industries, is one of the country’s top producers of formaldehyde.
It isn’t easy being a Koch brother these days. Preferring to stay behind the scenes and fund causes that have little benefit for society yet plenty for their business portfolio, they have found that more of their schemes have been revealed. They have been funding California’s Proposition 23, which would overturn AB32 (California’s emissions reduction law); their funding of purported groups denying climate change makes ExxonMobil’s contribution look like that of a dime store’s, and now they are behind an organization that is attempting to convince the public that formaldehyde is safe.