The preservative properties of formaldehyde are highly valued because they’re anti-bacterial and thus ideal for industries and products such as food, medicine, and skincare. Formaldehyde is made up of hydrogen, oxygen, and carbon and is thus the simplest of all the aldehydes. As a result, it’s easy to produce in large quantities for formaldehyde producers and is widely available. Let’s take a look more in-depth at how formaldehyde is used in these industries to understand why it’s such an important aspect of production and nothing to be feared.
Formaldehyde in Food
While formaldehyde being in our food sounds worrying even on the best of days, it’s actually a natural occurrence within organisms as a side effect of our bodies’ natural processes. Because of this, formaldehyde is typically approved as an indirect food additive. What this means is that the formaldehyde is actually on certain materials that contact food such, as defoaming agents, or used in anti-parasitic water treatment of fish such as salmon.
Formaldehyde in Medicine
With COVID-19, the preservative properties of formaldehyde are vital in the creation of vaccines, anti-infective drugs, and hard-gel capsules. In vaccines, formaldehyde inactivates viruses so they don’t cause diseases and detoxifies bacterial toxins so our body can learn how to fight these diseases off without actually being in danger of becoming afflicted.
Formaldehyde in Personal Care
Rather than directly inserting formaldehyde into cosmetics and skincare products, these products are made with ingredients that slowly release formaldehyde. These small releases help to protect the cosmetic or skincare products against contaminations of bacteria once the product has been opened and exposed to the environment. This is how we extend the shelf life of products so that continued use is possible.