SCA endorses products with the Allergy Certified logo, that do not contain Quaternium-15. “Quaternium-15 is used as an antimicrobial preservative in cosmetic products at concentration ranges from 10.1 to 1 %. ... Animal toxicity studies in- dicate that Quaternium-15 is mildly to moderately toxic depending on animal species, concentration, and route of exposure.” - www.journals.sagepub.com


CAS No: 4080-31-3


Cosmetics; used as an antimicrobial preservative in cosmetic, soaps and shampoos. International restrictions 0.1 to 1% - other use; surfactant, hair conditioning, adhesives, binding, lacquers and varnishes.

Commerical use; cutting fluids, lubricants, hydraulic fluids, additives, cleaning, pesticides, bacteriasides, food additives, paper, pharmaceuticals (antiarrhythmic and anticonvulsant agents).

“Formaldehyde is a naturally occurring substance made of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. Humans produce about 1.5 ounces of formaldehyde a day as a normal part of our metabolism. Inhaled formaldehyde is rapidly metabolized and ultimately converted to carbon dioxide and exhaled. Formaldehyde does not accumulate in the body.” - download the fact sheet by AmericanChemistry.com


  • "Quaternium-15 is safe as a cosmetic ingredient at concentrations not exceeding those presently in use" max 1% by European standards. - Journals - SagePub.com

  • "The safety data sheet also shows that quaternium-15 exposure via inhalation may cause damaging effects on the respiratory tract. According to the guidelines, inhaling the toxic compound may result in respiratory tract irritation. Furthermore, the harmful chemical is found to cause severe skin irritation and dermatitis." - Chemicals.News

  • "Quaternium-15 is one of the most widely used preservatives (Rietschel & Fowler, 2008). It is not surprising that it is also the most common preservative that causes ACD (Marks et al., 2002; Zug et al., 2009). It affected 10.3% of patients that were patch tested in 2005–2006 (Zug et al., 2009). Quaternium-15 is the top allergen in hand ACD (Warshaw et al., 2007). It is the sixth most common allergen to cause eyelid dermatitis (Rietschel et al., 2007). This is a broad-spectrum preservative that is effective against bacteria, fungi, molds, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and P. cepacia (Maier et al., 2009; Marks et al., 2002). Quaternium-15 releases the highest amount of free formaldehyde when compared to other FRPs (Maier et al., 2009). Quaternium-15 0.1% concentration (1,000 ppm) releases 100 ppm of free formaldehyde; this amount is enough to induce dermatitis in a patient with formaldehyde sensitivity (Frosch et al., 2006)." - MedScape.com

  • "Formaldehyde-releasing preservative used in cosmetics. It can aggravate skin, as can all preservatives, although quaternium-15’s ability to do so is very low if the amount in a product is less than 0.2%." - PaulasChoice.com


FRPs Formaldehyde Releasing Preservatives

SCA campaigns for some FRP's to be excluded from Australian cosmetics, personal care and household products. Products endorsed by SCA exclude certan FRP's and restrict all preservatives to a maximum of <1% or less for leave on products and a maximum of <3% or less for rinse off products. FRP's should also require a warning on the product label to "always patch test before use". Standard use of preservatives ranges from 0.01 to 0.3% the percentage usage should vary according to the age of the consumer eg. baby products and those intended for sensitive allergy prone skin like eczema should not contain FRP's, FRP's should be restricted to a maximum of 0.1 to 1% or less depending on the age of the consumer.

"Oral products such as toothpastes may only contain up to 0.1 percent formaldehyde, while nail hardeners can have up to 5 percent. All other cosmetic products (such as shampoos and straightening solutions) can have up to 0.2 percent. At these low levels, the use of formaldehyde is deemed to be safe." - Science.org.au

"Formaldehyde is also produced naturally in the human body as a part of normal functions of the body to produce energy and build the basic materials needed for important life processes. This includes making amino acids, which are the building blocks of proteins that the body needs." - FDA

RESOURCES & RECOMMENDED ARTICLES: Formaldehyde in vaccines,

Amina Kitching