Thursday, November 17, 2011

Would you bathe with Formaldehyde?

Would you bathe or clean with Formaldehyde? You may be doing just that!
by Dr Desai
Dr. Desai is dedicated to educating consumers about the dangers that we may bring into our homes or use on our bodies every day.  Dr. Desai has been trying to inform his clients of the dangers of some ingredients used in soaps, shampoos and other products that we trust and use daily. These may be products that we have used for years, that we may assume to be safe because they are on a store shelf and legally available for purchase by the public.  Some of these products contain DMDM Hydantoin which is a widely used preservative in many of our personal hygiene products, household cleaners and more.  DMDM Hydantoin releases Formaldehyde[1].  Formaldehyde is never listed on the ingredients because it is the use of a precursor such as DMDM Hydantoin that releases formaldehyde.  There are not many individuals that would knowingly apply formaldehyde to their skin regardless of its effectiveness as an antimicrobial.  Formaldahyde is known to cause dermatitis and eczema.  DMDM Hydantoin is an antimicrobial formaldehyde releaser preservative with the trade name Glydant.  It is a Chemical compound belonging to a class of compounds known as hydantoins.  It is used in the cosmetics industry as a preservative because the formaldehyde makes the environment less favorable to the microorganisms.  There are more dangers to using a product on your skin that releases formaldehyde, including the danger of cancer.  Formaldehyde has recently been declared a carcinogen and listed in the 12th Report on Carcinogens[2], compiled by the National Toxicology Program(NTP)under the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS).  This may be a step in the right direction, but this does not mean the DMDM Hydantoin will no longer be found in your soaps, shampoos, or hair gel.  This just means that the listing of formaldehyde potential carcinogenic will be available to the public. There has been no ban on the use of formaldehyde releasing preservatives or formaldehyde itself, at least not yet.
We may not be able to do anything about the formaldehyde that’s in the wood that our houses may have been built with, but we can take control of the choices that we make when it comes to the products that we use.  We can also join The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics which recently announced the introduction of the Safe Cosmetics Act of 2011 (H.R.2359), which would give the Food and Drug Administration authority to ensure that all personal care products, from shampoo to lipstick, are free of harmful ingredients and that all ingredients in the product are disclosed.  Existing law, which has not been updated since 1938, has loopholes that allow chemicals linked to cancer, birth defects, learning disabilities and other illnesses in products we use on our bodies every day.  If you haven't yet, please ask your Representative to co-sponsor this important bill! It takes a minute to log onto the web site for the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics at  and forward your request for their support of this bill.  This bill will help to protect the average consumer from hidden dangers and may force the reform of the cosmetic industry to stop using harmful ingredients.  You can visit the Household Product Safety website at for a list of products that contain DMDM Hydantoin.  Not all products that contain DMDM Hydantoin are guaranteed to be listed, so always check the ingredient label on your personal care products in addition to doing your own research.  If you do not understand the ingredients used in your favorite personal care products, feel free to post your questions on via “Ask Dr. Desai” at

[1] reference
[2] C&EN, Chemical & Engineering News, June 20, 2011, page 11


  1. Formaldehyde can be very toxic. we should try to use organic and natural shampoo and soaps to clean ourselves. this will make our skin more healthy n glowly.