I’ve had an interesting comment on my recent blog post about chronic fatigue that has got me seriously thinking about what is on my bathroom shelf. Here is the comment from Matt.
“I think that a lot of chronic fatigue syndrome (cfs) is caused by exposure to hydrocarbons. In my case minor dizzy spells induced by levels of 4-6ppm formaldehyde produced cfs and sleep disorder symptoms.”
I googled formaldehyde to see if there were potential exposures that would be specific to my teenage daughter.
I found that formaldehyde is used in “cosmetics and personal care products, such as cleansers, fingernail varnishes and hardeners, shampoos and conditioners and toothpastes” as well as dozens of other products.
At a quick count my daughter uses 15 different products. Not sure yet which contain formaldehyde but I am certainly keen to find out.
If you are interested in finding out more about the commercial uses of formaldehyde you will find a worryingly long list at Product Safety Australia.
I also noted with concern that Wikipedia Formaldehyde entry says that “On 10 June 2011, the US National Toxicology Program has described formaldehyde as “known to be a human carcinogen”.”
While healthy people might be able to deal with a toxic chemical load it seems logical that bodies with existing health stress may be overwhelmed by additional challenges and shut down.
That’s what it looks like when chronic fatigue syndrome happens – like a shut down.
So I guess if you or your child suffers from chronic fatigue it might be a useful strategy to lighten the chemical load a bit.
It isn’t going to do any harm and hey it might just help.
I suppose in a general sense the message for all of us is – do your homework, read labels and choose your products with great care.