Example: [Collected via e-mail, 2006]
JUST WANTED TO LET YOU ALL KNOW THAT I AM A HUGE FAN OF MAGIC ERASERS.....HOWEVER, I HAVE A FRIEND THAT TOOK ENGINEERING IN SCHOOL AND HE NOW WORKS FOR A HUGE COMPANY IN HALIFAX AND THEY GET THE HEADS UP ABOUT PRODUCTS BEFORE ANYONE ELSE. WELL HE CALLED ME LAST NIGHT AND SAID THAT I HAVE TO STOP USING THE MAGIC ERASERS AND THAT THEY ARE SLOWLY BEING BANNED FROM ALL STORES BECAUSE THEY CONTAIN THE INGREDIENT FORMALDEHYDE. YES THE CHEMICAL THEY USE TO PRESERVE DEAD PEOPLE. IT IS HIGHLY DANGEROUS TO YOUNG CHILDREN AND CAN BE HARMFUL TO YOURSELF, SO PLEASE IF YOU ARE USING THEM, THROW THEM AWAY, DON'T BUY THEM ANYMORE AND PLEASE SEND THIS ON TO ANYONE WHOM YOU THINK MIGHT USE THEM, ESPECIALLY WITH YOUNG CHILDREN.
Origins: Western society likes its homes and its clothing clean, but satisfying that desire comes at a price — to do so, consumers must place their faith in polysyllabic chemical concoctions
Yet another entry in this pantheon of household cleaner misgivings concerns P&G's
This hypothesis appears to be a result of a misparsing of the ingredients list.
Here are some facts about the ingredients used in Magic Eraser:
- The ingredients in Magic Eraser have been safely and commonly used for many years in a wide range of household products.
- Formaldehyde is not and has never been an ingredient in Magic Eraser. One ingredient in Magic Eraser (formaldehyde-melamine-sodium bisulfite copolymer) contains the word "formaldehyde" in its chemical name. However, this ingredient is not formaldehyde and poses no health or safety risks. (Think of this name like "sodium chloride", which is table salt. Sodium by itself can be dangerous, but sodium chloride - salt - is safe.)
- Magic Eraser is considered non-toxic. As with any sponge-like product, when swallowed this product may block the gastrointestinal tract. Therefore, we do advise to keep this product out of the reach of children and pets to avoid accidental ingestion — it is not a toy.
- It is possible that formaldehyde may be present in minute, trace amounts as a result of the manufacturing process. Even then, the amount present is significantly lower than standards established by governmental agencies and trade associations, and is actually less than what is found in indoor air.
- In fact, no ingredients in Magic Eraser are subject to any health-related labeling laws in North America or in the European Union.
For additional information, please call 1-800-867-2532.
A different issue involving the same type of product (produced by a different manufacturer) arose in November 2006 when a woman wrote an account in which she claimed that her son had suffered chemical burns when he rubbed a Scotchbrite Easy Eraser on his face and chin. Doubters maintained that the child had simply suffered skin abrasions from the abrasive surface of the eraser. (The product's packaging bore no warning about either type of injury at the time):
My package of the Scotchbrite Easy Erasers didn't have a warning either and since my child knew not to eat the sponges and keep them out of reach of his little brother and sister, it was a chore I happily let him do.
If I had known that both brands (and others like them) contain a harmful alkaline or "base" chemical (opposite of acid on the pH scale) that can burn your skin, I never would have let my little boy handle them. As you can see from the picture, when the Scotchbrite Easy Eraser was rubbed against his face and chin, he received severe chemical burns.
[Rest of article here.]
Barbara "formaldehyde and seek" Mikkelson
Last updated: 6 February 2007
The Nikkei Weekly. "Japan Proves New-Product Gold Mine for P&G." 12 July 2004.