How much Formaldehyde do you Allow in your Home?


Did you happen to catch the CBS 60 Minutes about the dangerous levels of formaldehyde in laminate wood flooring. As questions about this carcinogenic toxin in flooring are exposed, many more people are raising logical questions about other products we use at home that could be releasing this toxic chemical and having a serious negative effect on our health.

Formaldehyde is classified as a human carcinogen according to the U.S National Toxicology Program.

Formaldehyde has been linked to chronic respiratory irritation, asthma and several types of human cancers. Dr. Philip Landrigan, who specializes in environmental pediatrics at Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York describes issues with the formaldehyde concentrations in laminate flooring. He stated, “It’s not a safe level. It’s a level that the U.S. EPA calls polluted indoor conditions.”

Landrigan also says, “Most environmental causes of cancer are of sufficiently low risk that we don’t notice them in our daily lives.”

But when we add lots of other products and items we are exposed to on a daily basis that are releasing unnoticeable traces of formaldehyde, it certainly poses a problem.

Shockingly, formaldehyde releasing agents can be found in many personal care products and cosmetics. Thanks to the largely unregulated industry of personal care and cosmetics the following is true:

  1. According to data from the FDA, nearly 1 in 5 cosmetic products could contain a substance that generates formaldehyde.
  2. If you’re putting formaldehyde releasing ingredients on your skin, then you are not only inhaling the chemical, you’re absorbing it through your body’s largest organ, the skin.

Many preservatives and antimicrobials are formaldehyde releasers. Product companies choose these types of preservatives because they are very effective at preserving the product on the shelf. Unfortunately for us as consumers, they are also highly toxic to our bodies. So obviously profit and prolonged shelf life takes precedent over our health and well-being.

Avoid these formaldehyde-releasing ingredients:

  • Quaternium-15
  • DMDM Hydantoin
  • Ureas
  • Bronopol (Can be listed as 2-bromo-2-nitropropane-1,3-diol)
  • 5-Bromo-5-nitro-1,3-dioxane
  • Hydroxymethylglycinate

You may find these in a number of household products including cleaning products, cosmetics and personal care items like your shampoo, body lotion, hand soap and deodorant. Even some infant and children’s personal care products contain some of the items listed above.

An easy way to check all your products for formaldehyde releasers or other toxic chemicals is using EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database.  Type in a product by name and you will get a rating from the Environmental Working Group to help you decide if the product poses a health risk.

Many find it’s just easier to choose products that promise they will never contain any toxic chemicals linked to diseases or other adverse health risks. For more ToxicFree product options, check out some of the most scrutinized products in the world from the Healthy Home Company.

Guest Author: Brittany Glynn is one of the owners of the Healthy Home Company, a company providing truly toxin-free products. She is a director of the Toxic Free Foundation and created the first ever Toxic Free Certification Program.

Resources: Formaldehyde Releasers in products and personal care. 

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Sandy J Duncan
Sandy Duncan is completing her Doctorate in Integrative Medicine, a health and wellness coach, Certified Neurofeedback specialist and author of Read honest reviews on current health and wellness products as well as register for FREE giveaways.