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Chemical of the week: DMDM Hydantoin aka Formaldehyde

Chemical of the week: DMDM Hydantoin (DMDM Hi-den-toe-in)

DMDM Hydantoin, mostly found in pesticides and construction materials, is a broad-spectrum antimicrobial also found in many cosmetics and personal care products. It's effective against yeast, bacteria, and fungi within cosmetic formulas acting as a preservative to hold them together prolonging product shelf life. DMDM hydantoin is similar to imidazolidinyl urea which both release formaldehyde, that's right. Formaldehyde. A very harmful carcinogen.

Formaldehyde is a known toxin that many companies mask under such terms as DMDM hydantoin and imidazolidinyl urea. The FDA claims that 0.5 percent of the chemical DMDM hydantoin is required in products considering it safe for use which releases small amounts of formaldehyde over time. (Small amounts?? Why should we have ANY amounts in our products?)


Other names for DMDM hydantoin are: 1,3-bis(hydroxymethyl)-5,5-dimethylimidazolidine-2,4-dione; Glydant; dimethyloldimethylhydantoin; Dimethylol-5,5-dimethylhydantoin; 2,4-Imidazolidinedione, 1,3-bis(hydroxymethyl)-5,5-dimethyl-; CAS-6440-58-0; EC-229-222-8; and EPA Pesticide Chemical Code 115501.


What can this chemical do to me?

DMDM hydantoin may cause different side effects, depending on the route of exposure. Since it is a formaldehyde releaser, it just may have the same side effects as formaldehyde poisoning.


Contact with the skin may cause irritation, burning, itching, scaling, eczema, reddening and blistering of the skin. Over time, allergic reactions may occur.

Inhalation may cause irritation in the eyes, nose and throat, flu-like decongestion, minor to major respiratory problems which including asthma. Inner ear problems, ear infections, headaches, chest pain, chronic fatigue, depression and insomnia.


Leukemia, or cancer of the blood cells, is associated with DMDM hydantoin poisoning through inhalation, dermal and ingestion routes of exposure. Formaldehyde releasers can impair the immune system making it unable to function properly. Weakened immune system equals opening up your body for many other issues.

There are over 2,000 products containing DMDM hydantoin. You can find this chemical in shampoos, hair conditioners, hair products, hair dyes, body wash, sunscreen, hand lotion, bar soaps, facial moisturizers, anti-aging creams, baby wipes, baby soap, baby shampoo, makeup bases, foundations, nail polish, nail glue, eyelash glue and other tinted cosmetics.


What kind of products will I find this chemical in?

There are over 2,000 products containing DMDM hydantoin. You can find this chemcial in shampoos, hair conditioners, hair products, hair dyes, body wash, sunscreen, hand lotion, bar soaps, facial moisturizers, anti-aging creams, baby wipes, baby soap, baby shampoo, makeup bases, foundations, nail polish, nail glue, eyelash glue and other tinted cosmetics.

Some of the popular name brands are Curel, DDF Organic, Huggies, Bumble & Bumble, Olay, Desert Essence, Eucerin, Irish Spring, Ivory, Dove and Axe.



There are natural preservatives that can be added to products that won't wreak havoc to your body systems such as neem oil, probiotics, salt, honey, rosemary extract, grapefruit extract, citric acid, and vitamin E.

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