Five Products That Contain Formaldehyde: Is Your Health at Risk?

formaldehyde in nail polish may pose health risks
formaldehyde in nail polish may pose health risks

To the average consumer, formaldehyde may be best known as an embalming agent. But this naturally occurring chemical is a major industrial staple, used in many consumer goods, including cleaning products, cosmetics and building supplies.

Its presence in our everyday lives can have a huge health impact, warn experts. In 1987, the Environmental Protection Agency classified the chemical as a probable carcinogen after unusually high or prolonged exposure. Subsequent studies have linked formaldehyde to cancers like leukemia. As a result, the International Agency for Research on Cancer has classified formaldehyde as a human carcinogen.

For some of us, even low-level exposure can result in burning eyes, eczema and trouble breathing.