What is it?
A highly toxic impurity, formaldehyde is released by a number of preservatives used in cosmetics. The use of formaldehyde in personal products has been banned in many countries, but not in the US.
Why it’s dangerous
Formaldehyde has been classified as a carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). It has also been identified as a substance that is “reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen” by the US National Toxicology Program. Formaldehyde is also well known as a skin irritant. Yet, there is still no requirement for the amounts of formaldehyde to be tested in personal products here in the US. (Can anyone say “YIKES?”)
Where it’s found
Formaldehyde and formaldehyde-releasing preservatives can be found in some nail polishes, shampoos, liquid hand soaps, body washes, nail glues, toothpastes, hair gels, hair smoothing products, lotions, and more.
ON LABELS, LOOK FOR: DMDM hydantoin, diazolidinyl urea, imidazolidinyl urea, quaternium-15, 2-bromo-2-nitropropane-1,3-diol, and sodium hydroxylmethylglycinate.