Written on labels as: Formalin, quaternium-15, DMDM hydantoin, sodium hydroxymethylglycinate, imidazolidinyl urea, diazolidinyl urea, polyoxymethylene urea, 2-bromo-2-nitropropane-1,3-diol (bronopol) and glyoxal
Found in the following products: Shampoos, liquid baby soaps, eyelash adhesives, shampoos, cosmetics with color, body soap, nail polish, nail glue, and nail hardeners; also used as an embalming fluid
Chemical purpose: Is a preservative that helps prevent microbes from growing in water-based products.
Potential harmful risks:
Cancer: Formaldehyde is considered a known human carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer. The formaldehyde released from FRPs has been linked to cancer, but there is little evidence that FRPs are the direct cause of cancer. However, a mixture of the FRP bronopol and amines, which form nitrosamines, have been found to cause cancer by penetrating the skin.
Known asthmagen: any substance that is related to the development of asthma
Developmental toxicity: Neurotoxin and developmental toxicant
Formaldehyde has been banned in the EU and Japan.
Jacob SE, Breithaupt A (2009). Environmental Exposures-A pediatric perspective in baby and cosmetic products. Journal of the Dermatology Nurses’ Association 1:211-214.
International Agency for Research on Cancer. “IARC classifies formaldehyde as carcinogenic to humans.” Press release. June 15, 2004. www.iarc.fr/en/MEdia-Centre/IARC-Press-Releases/Archives-2006-2004/2004/IARC-classifies-formaldehyde-as-carcinogenic-to-humans. Accessed May 19, 2008.