People who do not understand chemicals and their benefits often ask, “Why is formaldehyde used in flu vaccines?” In particular, folks often believe that formaldehyde is dangerous. As expert formaldehyde producers, allow us to shed some light on formaldehyde’s purpose in flu vaccines.
What Is Formaldehyde?
Despite popular belief, formaldehyde is a naturally occurring organic compound. You may have interacted with formaldehyde in your high school biology class, as it is a common preservative. In fact, you can find small amounts of formaldehyde in many foods and drinks as an ingredient to prolong freshness. Another application of formaldehyde is formalin, a combination of water and formaldehyde. Formalin is commonly used as an industrial disinfectant. Now that we understand that formaldehyde is everywhere, why is formaldehyde used in flu vaccines?
Formaldehyde in Vaccines
Formaldehyde’s role in vaccines draws on its usefulness as a preservative. Vaccines are small samples of diseases for your body to fight. When you get a vaccine, your body builds up antibodies against the sample so your system can fight off real threats. A vaccine would not do much good if it actually gave you the disease and made you sick. That’s where formaldehyde comes into play. Formaldehyde neutralizes toxins from viruses and bacteria, making the disease dormant and allowing our bodies to fight it without any actual risk.
Is Formaldehyde Dangerous?
You may have heard that formaldehyde is dangerous. In large doses, it is dangerous and even lethal, but vaccines contain such a small amount of formaldehyde that it will not affect your health. In fact, our bodies already naturally produce small amounts of formaldehyde as a byproduct. Our bodies are good at dissolving and disposing of formaldehyde. We can handle the small amount of formaldehyde in vaccines and preserved foods. Rest assured, using formaldehyde in vaccines is safe.