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Harmful Chemicals To Avoid: 4 Things You Should Know About Formaldehyde

Harmful Chemicals

Frogs in Formaldehyde


In high school science, I had to dissect a frog. As I walked into science class I was greeted with a strong, pungent, thick odor of embalming fluid. Being a reluctant immature teenager, I moaned and complained about the stench, slouched over to my seat and unhappily sat down to endure what would be the nastiest week of my academic career. To this day the mention of formaldehyde bring back nightmares of my high school science assignment.

While researching harmful chemicals found in cosmetics, I learned of the use of formaldehyde in the preservation of skin, hair and nail care products. Below are 4 things you should know, right now, about formaldehyde.

1. Formaldehyde is for the dead. To embalm a dead body, or preserve it for burial, morticians use a substance called embalming fluid. One of the components of embalming fluid is formaldehyde, a colorless and flammable carcinogen.

“its colorless strong smelling, highly flammable, and designated as a carcinogen” (Mortician, 2015)

2. Formaldehyde can cause cancer. Studies have shown that prolonged exposure to formaldehyde may cause some types of cancers. As a result it was designated a carcinogen by The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) in the late 1980s.

“some studies of humans have suggested that formaldehyde exposure is associated with certain types of cancer” (National Cancer Institute, 2011)

3. Formaldehyde may lead to asthma.  Formaldehyde is found in everything from construction and building supplies to cosmetics. As a result emerging evidence displays that formaldehyde exposure in our environment may cause asthma, cold and flu like symptoms and skin irritations. 

“formaldehyde may lead the development of asthma in children” (Check, 2014)

4. Common names of Formaldehyde in your cosmetics. If you would like to reduce the levels of formaldehyde in your cosmetics, refer to the list of  formaldehyde releasing additives below (Campaign for Safe Cosmetics). 

  • Formaldehyde
  • quaternium-15
  • DMDM hydantoin
  • imidazolidinyl urea
  • diazolidinyl urea
  • polyoxymethylene urea
  • sodium hydroxymethylglycinate
  • 2-bromo-2-nitropropane-1,3-diol (bromopol) and glyoxal

Replace your current skin care Butter Angels Body Butter, Moisture Bars and Lip Moisturizer. Butter Angels products have 5 natural ingredients or less. As you’ll see, there are no harmful additives and is 100% safe for children.

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Campgaign for Safe Cosmetics. (n.d.). Formaldehyde And Formaldehyde -Releasing Preservatives. Retrieved from Campaign For Safe Cosmetics:

Check, H. A. (Director). (2014). What is Formaldehyde? [Motion Picture]. YouTube. Retrieved March 01, 2016, from

Mortician, A. a. (Director). (2015). Ask a Mortician- Is Embalming Dangerous? [Motion Picture]. Retrieved March 22, 2016, from

National Cancer Institute. (2011, June 10). Formaldehyde and Cancer Risk. Retrieved from National Cancer Institute:




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