Meet the Toxic Crew: What is Formaldehyde


Formaldehyde is a naturally occurring organic compound. It is widely known to be carcinogenic and is rated as highly toxic by the EWG. It is found in cosmetics and is released by preservatives. “The International Agency for Research on Carcinogens (IARC) has classified formaldehyde as 'carcinogenic to humans,' and the U.S. National Toxicology Program has classified it as 'reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen,' based on emerging evidence in humans and robust evidence in animals (IARC 2004; NTP 2005).” They use it to help products penetrate deeper into the skin or as a moisturizing agent. Commonly found in shampoo, body wash and bubble bath products, formaldehyde is also strongly present in most hair straightening treatments.

As a toxic ingredient, formaldehyde has been linked to an increased risk of asthma and allergies in kids. Long-term exposure has also been linked to cancer.

When looking at your products, scan them for these ingredients: quaternium-15, DMDM hydantoin, imidazolidinyl urea, diazolidinyl urea, sodium hydroxymethylglycinate, 2-bromo-2-nitropropane-1,3 diol (Bronopol).