How does formaldehyde end up in our cosmetic products?
No reasonable person would use personal care products knowing they contain formaldehyde, a know carcinogen. Unfortunately for us, large cosmetic companies have found ways to sneak this harmful chemical into our products. While it is not explicitly stated that our personal care products contain formaldehyde, it is still there. Cosmetic companies include chemicals, known as formaldehyde releasers, to allow their products to contain formaldehyde without the stigma associated with listing formaldehyde on the label. A similar example of sneaking in chemicals is using the word “fragrance” or “parfum” which always contains harmful chemical phthalates, such as DEP and DEHP. These synthetic, man-made, preservatives have been long banned by the EU (European Union) because of their known toxicity.
Common Formaldehyde Releasers Include:
- DMDM Hydantoin
- Imadiazolidinyl Urea
- Diazolidinyl Urea
Cosmetics that contain the following DIRTY 4 preservative ingredients (formaldehyde releasers) will contain formaldehyde.
These chemical preservatives, used as antimicrobial agents (prevent bacterial growth), slowly release formaldehyde over time as they degrade.
What is formaldehyde? Would you want it in your baby’s shampoo?
Formaldehyde is a highly toxic chemical; it is colorless, has a strong odor, and is flammable. It is most commonly known for its use as a preservative in mortuaries and medical laboratories. In other words, it is embalming fluid for cadavers and animals. It must be an effective preservative if it can preserve dead bodies. It doesn’t stop here. Formaldehyde is also used in pressed-wood products, adhesives, germicides, fungicides, and disinfectants. (1)
These harmful substances are commonly found in shampoos, conditioners, facial cleansers, facial moisturizers, anti-aging creams, and body washes.
Read your labels!!
It was not until earlier this year that Johnson & Johnson, after heavy consumer influence, removed formaldehyde and 1,4-dioxane, both known carcinogens, from its “No More Tears” baby shampoo. Over one billion bottles of this shampoo were sold to consumers before these harmful chemicals were removed. According to Heather White, executive director of the Environmental Working Group (EWG), “there was not enough information to know the long-term effects of these chemicals, and there was mounting evidence that cumulative exposure can be dangerous.” Consumers should not expect companies to look out for their best interests and be wary of the chemicals contained in the products they use from day to day.
What are the side effects of formaldehyde exposure?
Formaldehyde is recognized by the following groups as a known or probable carcinogen (potentially cancer causing); The Environmental Protection Agency, National Cancer Institute, National Toxicology Program, and the International Agency for Cancer Research. (2),(3) Companies defend their use of the aforementioned ingredients by saying there is no proof of carcinogenicity or toxicity. However, always remember that most of us use multiple products in a given day, so the exposure multiplies with each use. (Soap, shampoo, conditioner, shaving cream, after shave (on open pores and cuts), body scrub, face scrub – please avoid plastic microbeads – more on this later), deodorant, perfume, nail polish, body lotion, hand cream, and anti-aging creams and serums). I am sure you could add your own personal favorites to this list.
Short term formaldehyde exposure symptoms...
Short term formaldehyde exposure from our personal care products can also cause the following symptoms, through skin contact and vapor inhalation:
- Allergic contact dermatitis
- General skin irritation
- Burning of the throat, nose, and eyes (No More Tears???)
- Watery eyes
Steps should be taken to avoid all personal products that contain any of these listed formaldehyde releasers. Women should be especially careful to avoid formaldehyde containing products. Formaldehyde contact allergy is more common in women then men, according to studies done by the Swedish Contact Dermatitis
Group. (6) There is no way for a consumer to know how much formaldehyde is being released into their products or the compound effect of multiple products they use that expose them to formaldehyde.
AMG Naturally Inc. anti-aging products are guaranteed chemical-free and NEVER contain formaldehyde releasers.
- "Formaldehyde and Cancer Risk." National Cancer Institute. N.p., 10 June 2011. Web. 21 Aug. 2014.
- International Agency for Research on Cancer (June 2004). IARC Monographs on the Evaluation of Carcinogenic Risks to Humans Volume 88 (2006): Formaldehyde, 2-Butoxyethanol and 1-tert-Butoxypropan-2-ol. Retrieved June 10, 2011, from: http://monographs.iarc.fr/ENG/Monographs/vol88/index.php .
- National Toxicology Program (June 2011). Report on Carcinogens, Twelfth Edition. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, National Toxicology Program. Retrieved June 10, 2011, from: http://ntp.niehs.nih.gov/go/roc12.
- Laskin, S., M. Kuschner, R.P. Drew, V.P. Capiello, and N. Nelson: Tumors of Respiratory Tract Induced by Inhalation of Bis-(chloro-methyl)Ether, Arch. Enviro. Health 23:135-136 (1971)
- Proctor, N.H., and J.P. Hughes: Chemical Hazards of the Workplace. J.B. Lippincott, Philadelphia, pp. 272-274 (1978).
- Cronin E. Formaldehyde is a significant allergen in women with hand eczema. Contact Dermatitis 1991 ; 25: 276-282.