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Data: Fair

Methenamine (Formaldehyde Releaser)

  • This ingredient’s score is higher if used in products that are inhalable (e.g., sprays, powders) because of respiratory concerns.

IMAGE SOURCE: PubChem

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Other Concerns

Use restrictions (high), Non-reproductive organ system toxicity (moderate), and Contamination concerns (high)

SYNONYMS

1,3,5,7-TETRAAZATRICYCLO[3,3,1,1]DECANE, 1,3,5,7TETRAAZATRICYCLO[3.3.1.13,7]DECANE, AMINOFORM, FORMAMINE, HEXAMETHYLENE TETRAMINE, HEXAMETHYLENEAMINE, METHENAMIDE, METHENAMIN, METHENAMINE, and METHENAMINE (FORMALDEHYDE RELEASER)

Methenamine 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 Reingredientive Toxicity
  • HIGH
    Use Restrictions

Ingredient concerns

  • CONCERNS
  • DATA SOURCES

Products with this Ingredient

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Contamination concerns

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Allergies/immunotoxicity

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CONCERN REFERENCE
Known human any toxicant or allergenOpen scientific literature
Human skin toxicant or allergen - strong evidenceEWG Assessment of Open Scientific Literature
Human skin toxicant or allergen - strong evidenceCosmetic Ingredient Review Assessments
One or more human case studies show possible immune and respiratory or allergenic effectsAssociation of Occupational and Environmental Clinics
Limited evidence of immune system toxicity or allergiesNational Library of Medicine HazMap

Use restrictions

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CONCERN REFERENCE
Violation of industry recommendations - Restricted in cosmetics; use, concentration, or manufacturing restrictions - Not safe for use in products intended to be aerosolized, according to industry safety panel (Cosmetic Ingredient Review, CIR)Cosmetic Ingredient Review Assessments
Determined safe for use in cosmetics, subject to concentration or use limitations - Safe for use in cosmetics with some qualificationsCosmetic Ingredient Review Assessments

Organ system toxicity (non-reproductive)

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CONCERN REFERENCE
Classified as expected to be toxic or harmfulEnvironment Canada Domestic Substance List
Classified as medium human health priorityEnvironment Canada Domestic Substance List

Cancer

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CONCERN REFERENCE
Cancer - limited evidenceOpen scientific literature

Miscellaneous

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CONCERN REFERENCE
Occupational hazards related to handlingCPS&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
3583 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 bioaccumulativeEnvironment Canada Domestic Substance List

Informational

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CONCERN REFERENCE
Industry or government recommendations for safe use: restrictions on concentration, impurities, product types, or manufacturing methods - Not safe for use in products intended to be aerosolized, according to industry safety panel (Cosmetic Ingredient Review, CIR)Cosmetic Ingredient Review Assessments
  • Open scientific/peer reviewed literature
  • EWG Assessment of Open Scientific Literature
  • CIR (Cosmetic Ingredient Review). 2006. CIR Compendium, containing abstracts, discussions, and conclusions of CIR cosmetic ingredient safety assessments. Washington DC.
  • AOEC (Association of Occupational and Environmental Clinics). 2009. AEOC exposures codes and asthmagen designation.
  • 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.
  • 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). 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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