Formaldehyde

SCA endorses products with the Toxic-Free Tick, that do not contain formalin. ”Formaldehyde is a highly toxic systemic poison that is absorbed well by inhalation. The vapor is a severe respiratory tract and skin irritant and may cause dizziness or suffocation. Contact with formaldehyde solution may cause severe burns to the eyes and skin.” - ATSDR Agency for Toxiuc Substances & Disease Registry.

CLASSIFICATION

CAS No: 50-00-0. "Synonym(s): FORMALIN; FORMIC ALDEHYDE; MERTHALDEHYDE; METHANAL; METHYL ALDEHYDE; OXOMETHANE; OXYMETHYLENE; ALDEHYD MRAVENCI (CZECH) ; ALDEHYDE FORMIQUE (FRENCH) ; ALDEIDE FORMICA (ITALIAN) ; BFV" - EWG

HOW IS IT USED?

Formalin is commonly found in nail hardeners, keratin hair straighteners, shampoo and baby wash including soaps and liquid baby wash.

RESEARCH - WHAT THE EXPERTS SAY

  • Banned in cosmetics in Japan and Sweden.

  • Banned in the United States

  • Restricted in Canada.

  • NICNAS Australia - Human Health Tier II assessment November 2006, not restricted for use.

WHAT IS FORMALDEHYDE?

  • Naturally occurring and commonly used in the form of formalin, it inhibits the growth of microorganisms. Other names: Formic aldehyde; Methaldehyde; Methanal; Oxomethane; Oxymethylene.

  • Multiple health concerns, mainly skin irritation. Commonly used in colour cosmetics and liquid hair and baby care products, hand sanitisers, paint and carpets, nail products and all kinds of household cleaning agents.

  • Approximately 20% of cosmetics and personal care products, contain a formaldehyde releasing preservatives. In 1996, the production of formaldehyde was estimated at 8.7 million tons per year.

  • Toxicity Category I for eye irritation and Toxicity Category II for skin irritation.

RESOURCES & RECOMMENDED ARTICLES:

Amina Kitching