There’s Formaldehyde in my Shampoo!?!?

Johnson & Johnson, makers of lots of products – including Neutrogena, Aveeno, and Clean & Clear brands – recently announced that they will be removing formaldehyde from adult products by 2013.  Wait, what?  There’s formaldehyde in beauty products?!?!  I knew it was an issue with “Brazilian Blowouts” done in salons, as well as other chemical treatments for hair, but I had no idea it was in stuff I may have bought at the store.  (By the way, Johnson & Johnson had already pledged to remove formaldehyde and other potentially-harmful ingredients from baby products previous to this announcement.) 

Seriously?  Great, now I have to go through the whole process used in my “Paraben Project” to make sure I’m not buying formaldehyde-containing products, too.  Ugh.  It’s getting harder and harder to buy the things I use everyday.  I guess it’s not technically getting harder, but my awareness of these things is making me choose a harder shopping process.  It’s a strange thing to feel empowered and frustrated at the same time.

Why Eliminate Formaldehyde?   It’s been found to be a potential carcinogen, like so many other added ingredients in products we use every day.  A report distributed by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services supports previous findings linking formaldehyde and specific types of cancer/leukemia.  While “casual” exposure to formaldehyde may not be deadly, it may be a “better safe than sorry” type of scenario.

What Contains Formaldehyde?  Lots of commonly-used household products, including cleaning products, as well as beauty and skin care items. Click here for a list of products known to contain formaldehyde ingredients. It probably isn’t a complete list, but may be able to help you eliminate some things.

What To Look For:  Looking for the word “formaldehyde” in an ingredient list probably won’t help you.  There are many synonyms used, so may sure to also look for formalin; formic aldehyde; methaldehyde; methanal.

In Summary:  You can’t protect yourself from all the harmful chemicals in the world.  However, if you’re already at an increased risk of developing cancer – due to genetics or environment – you may want to consider searching your household for things containing formaldehyde ingredients.

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