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Formaldehyde is such an effective preservative—it's used to embalm bodies, after all—that it’s in all kinds of products, including nail polish, shampoo, and body wash. In fact, research in the journal Contact Dermatitis suggests it's in about 20% of personal care products in the US. Most often, you’ll find it masquerading in what’s called "formaldehyde releasers," meaning chemicals that break down into formaldehyde.

While the FDA says small quantities in products don’t pose a threat, the preservative is a known carcinogen, and has been associated with skin allergies. You can avoid it by checking your ingredient label for these red flags: quaternium-15, diazolidnyl urea, DMDM hydantoin, and imidazolidinyl urea. Skip hair-smoothing products—especially those sold in salons, as salon-based products are exempt from labeling laws.





You know what else contains formaldehyde (methanal)?

You do. Your body manufactures something on the order of 75g (call it 2.5 oz weight) of formaldehyde every day.

So, to avoid exposure to formaldehyde I would suggest that you avoid exposure to all animals, including yourself.

Or abandon the chemophobia, I guess.


Did you know that RIGHT NOW, at this VERY MOMENT... there is a SKELETON INSIDE OF YOU!? Aaaah!


Prevention Magazine is a slightly nutty 'health' publication. Not particulary trustworthy about anything related to nutrition, disease, medication or.... well, pretty much anything.

Its parent "Organic Gardening' has pretty good gardening advice, but the same sort of 'I think I saw it on the internet, so it must be true.' dizziness.

Shay Simmons

You have more formaldehyde in your body at this moment than you will find in any commercial personal-use product. It is a part of your metabolism, which uses it to form DNA and amino acids.

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