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Thread: Formaldehyde

  1. #11
    Lacemaking longhair MusicalSpoons's Avatar
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    Default Re: Formaldehyde

    Interestingly the EPA is a US agency; the US operates on a basis of 'prove it's harmful and we'll do something about it' whereas the EU and many other countries operate on a basis of 'prove it's safe and we'll let you use it'.

    I also found this:
    The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has classified formaldehyde as carcinogenic to humans.

    “Twenty-six scientists from 10 countries evaluated the available evidence on the carcinogenicity of formaldehyde, a widely used chemical,” said Dr. Peter Boyle, the Director of the Agency, which is part of the World Health Organization.

    Previous evaluations, based on the smaller number of studies available at that time, had concluded that formaldehyde was probably carcinogenic to humans, but new information from studies of persons exposed to formaldehyde increased the overall weight of the evidence, Dr. Boyle noted in a news release.

    Based on the new information, the expert working group determined that there is now sufficient evidence that formaldehyde causes nasopharyngeal cancer in humans.

    “Their conclusion that there is adequate data available from humans for an increased risk of a relatively rare form of cancer—nasopharyngeal cancer—and a supporting mechanism, demonstrates the value and strengths of the Monographs Programme [which convened the working group],” he said.

    The working group also found limited evidence for cancers of the nasal cavity and paranasal sinuses and “strong but not sufficient evidence” for leukemia.
    From https://journals.lww.com/oncology-ti...ogenic.27.aspx

    https://www.cancercouncil.com.au/860...-cause-cancer/ says:
    in 2006 (and again in 2012) the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified formaldehyde as carcinogenic (cancer causing substance) to humans. IARC is a part of the World Health Organisation which convenes international expert working groups to evaluate the evidence of the carcinogenicity of specific exposures. Additionally, in 2011, the US National Toxicology Program listed formaldehyde as a known human carcinogen in its 12thReport on Carcinogens.
    However that comes from an article with the headline "General public exposure to formaldehyde does not cause cancer" so ...

    It should be noted that a lot of the research is focused on those with high levels of exposure, people working with significant amounts of it every day, e.g. industrial workers, lab techs, mortuary employees; and the research seems focused on inhalation or ingestion - the most common routes of exposure for those working with it. So I guess shampoo containing tiny amounts is most likely to be safe, but honestly I'm not sure I'd be willing to use it either! I'm glad you were able to return it as you didn't feel comfortable using it Sparkles122
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  2. #12
    ^ YLVA, not YIVA/YVLA! :) Ylva's Avatar
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    Default Re: Formaldehyde

    As far as I know, the amount of formaldehyde that is used as a preservative in a product is, in one use, equal to the consumption of a fruit that naturally contains formaldehyde (for example a pear).

    Of course, you could just go ahead and avoid that, and eat a pear instead.
    Ósnjallr maðr hyggsk munu ey lifa, ef hann við víg varask;
    en elli gefr hánum engi frið, þótt hánum geirar gefi.


  3. #13
    Member Alex Lou's Avatar
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    Default Re: Formaldehyde

    We're all exposed to low levels of formaldehyde every day. I believe building materials are the main exposure, so our homes. We should still avoid exposure when possible because it adds up. I'm not sure about cancer, but I was reading a while back that it can cause reproductive harm.

    Probably the low levels used as a preservate are insignificant. On the other hand, not that hard to use a different product. I agree, it is off-putting.

  4. #14
    Member Joules's Avatar
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    Default Re: Formaldehyde

    Guys, come on. The fearmongering is getting out of hand, really. When scientists test chemicals on animals they inject them with huge amounts. So huge that regular people just can't get this kind if exposure in their daily lives. Unless you drink shampoo and conditioner for breakfast, lunch and dinner every day for years, you won't get cancer.

    Pears contain formaldehyde and strawberries contain parabens. Those things aren't killing you, why do you think your conditioner would?
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  5. #15
    LHC FairyGodMum lapushka's Avatar
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    Default Re: Formaldehyde

    I agree with Joules. If it were really that dangerous, it would not be available for purchase.

    And I *know* what cancer can do. I have had 4 people, close to me, die on me, due to all sorts of cancer, breast (2), brain, pancreatic. It is a horrible disease, but IMMHO you either get it or you don't. I mean why do babies or small children get it. They haven't smoked nor been exposed to bad things. If you are predisposed, you are going to get it.

    A product isn't going to change all that!
    I have learned that much.

    You can live a "careful" life and still get it. You can live 100 miles an H and be fine. It's the luck of the draw!
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  6. #16
    Lacemaking longhair MusicalSpoons's Avatar
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    Default Re: Formaldehyde

    I wasn't fearmongering, I was stating facts. The research was done on humans, but I did also point out that it's focused on exposure to large amounts (mostly via inhalation or ingestion) and even bolded the article title that they'd concluded general public exposure isn't harmful. It *is* classified as a carcinogen for humans, so if someone Googles 'is formaldehyde carcinogenic?' they'd find the answer YES with no context - but it's entirely likely they might not look any deeper to see that as a member of the general public they don't really have to worry.

    (My own discomfort at it being in a cosmetic product is indeed emotion taking over rationality; empathising with someone else on that doesn't make me a bad scientist, it makes me human )

    Edit: lapushka I agree people are likely either genetically disposed to have cancer or not, but carcinogens are linked with an unusual amount of people getting cancer compared to those who aren't exposed to those chemicals. It might be that carcinogens trigger something that you have to be predisposed for, I don't know. But I do know this classification is not something taken lightly, and for those working with carcinogens strict safety measures are taken to reduce the exposure.

    In one of the articles about formaldehyde, they mentioned 'a supporting mechanism' for one type of cancer but they didn't have 'a supporting mechanism' for leukaemia and something else. Which means they've proven *how* it can cause the first type, but not the others, so they can't conclusively say it does cause leukaemia, only that it probably does. [Again, to be taken in the right context: high exposure, not small amounts in cosmetics!]

    When I did Chemistry A level, we studied the mechanism behind sun exposure and skin cancer; there is a proven mechanism behind it on a molecular level - but again, not everyone has cancer as a result of sun exposure; those who do will have had different levels of exposure before it developed - but of course it's not the only cause of skin cancer; it's not a simple case of 'sun exposure = skin cancer'. That's one reason why I'm inclined to think there is an element of predisposition involved.

    So I do take carcinogens seriously, if they've been definitively classified (because they're not making it up! You can't dismiss the research and scientific evidence), but also don't live my life *worrying* because it might never happen! [I too have seen many people close to me suffer, some of them survived and some of them didn't; for me it would be a waste to have lived life trying desperately to avoid all known and possible carcinogens only to develop some form of cancer anyway.]
    Last edited by MusicalSpoons; June 13th, 2019 at 08:06 AM.
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  7. #17
    LHC FairyGodMum lapushka's Avatar
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    Default Re: Formaldehyde

    Quote Originally Posted by MusicalSpoons View Post
    I wasn't fearmongering, I was stating facts. The research was done on humans, but I did also point out that it's focused on exposure to large amounts (mostly via inhalation or ingestion) and even bolded the article title that they'd concluded general public exposure isn't harmful. It *is* classified as a carcinogen for humans, so if someone Googles 'is formaldehyde carcinogenic?' they'd find the answer YES with no context - but it's entirely likely they might not look any deeper to see that as a member of the general public they don't really have to worry.

    (My own discomfort at it being in a cosmetic product is indeed emotion taking over rationality; empathising with someone else on that doesn't make me a bad scientist, it makes me human )
    I don't think it was directed at you. I think it was directed at people stating things without backing things up. In general. I hate when that happens.

    And it all depends what source you tap into what result you get.

    If it was really a cancer risk, MusicalSpoons, it would no longer be used. Like I said, minute amounts. It's even in fruits and consumables. And what are you gonna do then? No longer eat?
    Last edited by lapushka; June 13th, 2019 at 07:49 AM.
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  8. #18
    Lacemaking longhair MusicalSpoons's Avatar
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    Default Re: Formaldehyde

    Quote Originally Posted by lapushka View Post
    I don't think it was directed at you. I think it was directed at people stating things without backing things up. In general. I hate when that happens.

    And it all depends what source you tap into what result you get.

    If it was really a cancer risk, MusicalSpoons, it would no longer be used. Like I said, minute amounts. It's even in fruits and consumables. And what are you gonna do then? No longer eat?
    I think I was editing my post as you were replying and it ended up WAY longer than intended but I think the edit kind of answers that question
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  9. #19
    LHC FairyGodMum lapushka's Avatar
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    Default Re: Formaldehyde

    Quote Originally Posted by MusicalSpoons View Post
    Edit: lapushka I agree people are likely either genetically disposed to have cancer or not, but carcinogens are linked with an unusual amount of people getting cancer compared to those who aren't exposed to those chemicals. It might be that carcinogens trigger something that you have to be predisposed for, I don't know. But I do know this classification is not something taken lightly, and for those working with carcinogens strict safety measures are taken to reduce the exposure.

    In one of the articles about formaldehyde, they mentioned 'a supporting mechanism' for one type of cancer but they didn't have 'a supporting mechanism' for leukaemia and something else. Which means they've proven *how* it can cause the first type, but not the others, so they can't conclusively say it does cause leukaemia, only that it probably does. [Again, to be taken in the right context: high exposure, not small amounts in cosmetics!]

    When I did Chemistry A level, we studied the mechanism behind sun exposure and skin cancer; there is a proven mechanism behind it on a molecular level - but again, not everyone has cancer as a result of sun exposure; those who do will have had different levels of exposure before it developed - but of course it's not the only cause of skin cancer; it's not a simple case of 'sun exposure = skin cancer'. That's one reason why I'm inclined to think there is an element of predisposition involved.

    So I do take carcinogens seriously, if they've been definitively classified (because they're not making it up! You can't dismiss the research and scientific evidence), but also don't live my life *worrying* because it might never happen! [I too have seen many people close to me suffer, some of them survived and some of them didn't; for me it would be a waste to have lived life trying desperately to avoid all known and possible carcinogens only to develop some form of cancer anyway.]
    And the bold is what it was about here in the first place, right? Not high amounts, just cosmetic use. So there is no reason for this thing blowing up the way it has, IMO.
    WCC method (washing) --- Rinse-out oil (MO) --- LOC/LCO method (styling)

  10. #20
    Member Joules's Avatar
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    Default Re: Formaldehyde

    Cancer is like a plain crash. There never is just one cause, there's always a number of factors that when combined become disastrous. Genetic predisposition, stress levels, immune system, lifestyle choices (including even sleep patterns) can all lead to cancer in one way or another, but for some reason only shampoo and deodorants scare people.
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