By Holly Lebowitz Rossi

The U.S. government's National Toxicology Program released a report on June 10 identifying formaldehyde, the laboratory preservative that is also used in products from shampoos to furniture, as a human carcinogen.

According to the Report on Carcinogens (RoC), "Prior editions of the RoC had listed formaldehyde as reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen, and following a rigorous scientific review, formaldehyde is now reassigned to the category known to be a human carcinogen."

This news may be of concern to parents because of its common presence in home building materials from kitchen cabinets to nursery furniture that's made with pressboard and particleboard (the resins used to hold these boards together commonly contain formaldehyde.).  In 2009, the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics released a report identifying traces of formaldehyde in a number of cosmetic products as well, including Johnson's iconic baby shampoo.  There is some debate over this claim, and particularly over the levels of exposure a child would have from any given shampoo or soap product.

The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics lists cosmetic ingredients that are chemical markers for formaldehyde:

And parents who want to avoid exposure from furniture products, can start by following these recommendations from the RoC:

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