I’m almost finished with this subject, I swear.
This post is a response to a few comments that I’ve seen around the internet about formaldehyde releasers; and that they are in such a small concentration, that they are not harmful to your body. “The tiny amount of formaldehyde released when shampooing your hair is equivalent to the amount contained in one medium sized apple or pear.” (www.cosmeticsinfo.org/ingredient/formaldehyde-infographic)
This is probably true. However your body is naturally very good at filtering out unnecessary chemicals from the things you eat or drink. According to the ATSDR (the Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry), formaldehyde may be found in small doses in the air you breathe, the food you eat, and in the water you drink. (www.atsdr.cdc.gov) HOWEVER- the body is very good at filtering this out. Formaldehyde that is breathed in through your lungs, is usually breathed right back out. It does not enter into the bloodstream that way, unless you work in an industry that deals with large amounts of it. Such as medical professionals, people who handle large amounts of preserved specimens (think frogs for dissection or tissue being preserved for study), or workers in clothing or furniture factories (formaldehyde is used as a wood sealant and in permanet press fabrics). Formaldehyde that is ingested (eaten… like the apple or pear example above) is broken down by the digestive tract, into other chemicals and expelled from the body. Very small amounts can also enter your body through the skin, but the skin is usually good at filtering it and other chemicals out. This small amount that may be absorbed through the skin can also be broken down by the body and expelled with your waste.
However- each time you use a product with a formaldehyde releaser in it- you are multiplying the concentration of it in your body. High concentrations of formaldehyde in the body has been known to cause cancer, damage the stomach, cause asthma, change your behavior, impair your ability to learn, and irritate the skin, nose, and throat. So one product may not cause this, but think about all the sources of formaldehyde around you.
In the air
In the water
In your foods
In cigarette smoke
In some fabrics (particularly some permanent press fabrics)
In wood furniture (the sealant used in wood furniture contains formaldehyde)
In cloth furniture (again- furniture fabric is a permanent press fabric)
In paints and varnishes
In automobile exhaust
In fumigants (pesticides, both for farm use and for regular consumer use)
And of course in multiple beauty products out there.
Oh and here’s a fun fact:
While both the EPA (Enviromental Protection Agency) and OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) have set legal limits to emissions that come from manufactured housing and limits in your local environment- the FDA does not have a limit to formaldehyde releasers in beauty products. Only for formaldehyde in food. Although the FDA has said that the quantities of formaldehyde releasers in beauty produts is very low.
It is estimated that nearly 1 in 5 cosmetic products contain a substance that generates formaldehyde. (www.ewg.org)
Honestly- seeing how common you can find formaldehyde in your every day life, WHY would you want to increase your exposure to it?
These companies are banking on your body’s ability to filter it out, like it does when exposed to it naturally. But what if your body isn’t at it’s peak performance? What if you’re tired? What if you don’t have a great immune system? What if you have questionable genetics? What if you don’t eat right? What if you don’t exercise? All these factors contribute to the way your body does it’s job.
I know I’m not getting enough sleep, and my diet isn’t the best. So I’m already at a disadvantage. Why would I continue to use multiple products with ingredients that are KNOWN to be a health risk?
Just food for thought.