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Data: Fair

Glyoxal

IMAGE SOURCE: PubChem

SEARCH PRODUCTS

Other Concerns

Use restrictions (high), Non-reproductive organ system toxicity (moderate), Irritation (skin, eyes, or lungs) (high), Occupational hazards (high), and Contamination concerns (high)

SYNONYMS

BIFORMAL, BIFORMYL, DIFORMYL, ETHANDIAL, ETHANE-1,2-DIONE, ETHANEDIAL, ETHANEDIONE, GLYOXAL, GLYOXAL (FORMALDEHYDE RELEASER), GLYOXYLALDEHYDE, and OXALALDEHYDE

Restricted

Restricted: EWG VERIFIED products cannot contain this ingredient without adequate substantiation


Glyoxal is an antimicrobial preservative that works by forming formaldehyde in cosmetic products. People exposed to such formaldehyde-releasing ingredients may develop a formaldehyde allergy or an allergy to the ingredient itself. In the U.S. approximately 20% of cosmetics and personal care products contain a formaldehyde-releaser and the frequency of contact allergy to these ingredients is much higher among Americans compared to studies in Europe.

Common concerns

See how this product scores for common concerns.

  • LOW
    Cancer
  • HIGH
    Allergies & Immunotoxicity
  • LOW
    Developmental and Reproductive Toxicity
  • HIGH
    Use Restrictions

Ingredient concerns

  • CONCERNS
  • DATA SOURCES

Products with this Ingredient

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mask7 products
mascara5 products
conditioner3 products
hair treatment/serum1 products
brow liner1 products
daily use with SPF1 products
facial moisturizer/treatment1 products

Contamination concerns

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Chemical
FORMALDEHYDE

Allergies/immunotoxicity

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CONCERN REFERENCE
Known human any toxicant or allergenOpen scientific literature
Human skin toxicant or allergen - strong evidenceCosmetic Ingredient Review Assessments
Limited evidence of immune system toxicity or allergiesCPS&Q - Classification & Labelling

Irritation (skin, eyes, or lungs)

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CONCERN REFERENCE
Classified as irritantCPS&Q - Classification & Labelling

Occupational hazards

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CONCERN REFERENCE
Allowed workplace exposures restricted to low dosesCPS&Q - Classification & Labelling
Limited evidence of occupational hazardsCPS&Q - Classification & Labelling
Single case study detailing occupational hazardsNational Library of Medicine HazMap

Organ system toxicity (non-reproductive)

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CONCERN REFERENCE
Classified as a high human health priorityEnvironment Canada Domestic Substance List
Classified as not expected to be potentially toxic or harmfulEnvironment Canada Domestic Substance List

Use restrictions

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CONCERN REFERENCE
Recommended restricted in cosmetics - use, concentration, or manufacturing restrictions - Product type restrictions or differences noted in safety assessment by industry panelCosmetic Ingredient Review Assessments
Restricted in cosmetics (recommendations or requirements) - use, concentration, or manufacturing restrictions - anyCosIng
Determined safe for use in cosmetics, subject to concentration or use limitations - Safe for use in cosmetics with some qualificationsCosmetic Ingredient Review Assessments

Cancer

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CONCERN REFERENCE
Cancer - limited evidenceOpen scientific literature
Mutagen - limited evidenceCPS&Q - Classification & Labelling

Data gaps

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CONCERN REFERENCE
Risk assessment method deficiencies and data gaps - Maximum reported "as used" concentration is basis of safety assessment by industry safety panel (Cosmetic Ingredient Review, CIR) - implicit safe concentration limit in productCosmetic Ingredient Review Assessments
1716 studies in PubMed science library may include information on the toxicity of this chemicalNLM PubMed

Ecotoxicology

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CONCERN REFERENCE
Not suspected to be an environmental toxinEnvironment Canada Domestic Substance List

Persistence and bioaccumulation

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CONCERN REFERENCE
Not suspected to be persistentEnvironment Canada Domestic Substance List
Not suspected to be bioaccumulativeEnvironment Canada Domestic Substance List
  • Open scientific/peer reviewed literature
  • CIR (Cosmetic Ingredient Review). 2006. CIR Compendium, containing abstracts, discussions, and conclusions of CIR cosmetic ingredient safety assessments. Washington DC.
  • CPS&Q (Consumer Products Safety & Quality) formely known as ECB (European Chemicals Bureau). 2008. Classification and Labelling: Chemicals: Annex VI of Directive 67/548/EEC through the 31st ATP.
  • NLM (National Library of Medicine). 2006. HazMap — Occupational Exposure to Hazardous Agents.
  • EC (Environment Canada). 2008. Domestic Substances List Categorization. Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA) Environmental Registry.
  • European Commission. 2013. Cosing, the European Commission database with information on cosmetic substances and ingredients. Accessed on March 1, 2013 at http://ec.europa.eu/consumers/cosmetics/cosing/ .
  • NLM (National Library of Medicine). 2012. PubMed online scientific bibliography data. http://www.pubmed.gov.

Understanding scores

Cosmetics and personal care products are not required to be tested for safety before being allowed on the market. The Skin Deep® scoring system was designed to help the public understand whether a product is safe to use or whether it contains ingredients of concern.

Every product and ingredient in Skin Deep gets a two-part score – one for hazard and one for data availability. The safest products score well by both measures, with a low hazard rating and a fair or better data availability rating.

HOW WE DETERMINE SCORES

Hazard score

The Skin Deep ingredient hazard score, from 1 to 10, reflects known and suspected hazards linked to the ingredients. The EWG VERIFIED™ mark means a product meets EWG’s strictest criteria for transparency and health.

Score legend

Data availability

The Skin Deep data availability rating reflects the number of scientific studies about the product or ingredient in the published scientific literature.

NONE LIMITED FAIR GOOD ROBUST
Low Availability
Moderate Availability
High Availability

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