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Imidazolidinyl Urea — toxicity, side effects, diseases and environmental impacts

Thursday, December 07, 2017 by

Imidazolidinyl urea is an antimicrobial preservative agent found in beauty products. It prevents the growth of bacterium, yeasts, and molds in the cosmetic formula. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) considers imidazolidinyl urea as one of the most common antimicrobial agents used in cosmetics. Imidazolidinyl urea is known to release formaldehyde, which is used globally by scientists and morticians in preserving corpses and body parts. Formaldehyde is toxic to humans and may cause many negative side effects.

There are 1,096 patents using imidazolidinyl urea filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Some of these include Yes to Carrots Body Moisturizing Lotion; Bareille Nail Strengthener; Adorage Antistress Serum and Moisturizing Cream; Seaderms Makeup Removing Water Eau Demaquillante; Yes to Carrots Hair and Scalp Moisturizing Mask and Exfoliating Soothing Mask.

Other names and synonyms of imidazolidinyl urea include: 1-[3-(hydroxymethyl)-2,5-dioxoimidazolidin-4-yl]-3-[[[3-(hydroxymethyl)-2,5-dioxoimidazolidin-4-yl]carbamoylamino]methyl]urea; CAS-39236-46-9; EC-254-372-6; Methanebis(N,N’-(5-ureido-2,4-diketotetrahydroimidazole)-N,N-dimethylol); Methanebis(N,N’-(5-Ureido-2,4-Diketotetrahydroimidazole)-N,N-Dimethylol; Urea, N,N”-methylenebis(N’-(1-(hydroxymethyl)-2,5-dioxo-4-imidazolidinyl)-; and N,N-methylenebisN’-1- -2,5-dioxo-4-imidazolidinylurea.

List of known side effects

Imidazolidinyl urea is a formaldehyde releaser, which is a known toxin to humans. Since most cosmetics are handled by beauticians, they are more prone to being poisoned by imidazolidinyl urea products.

Routes of exposure include dermal and eye absorption, inhalation of aerosols, and ingestion. Imidazolidinyl urea poisoning may produce side effects such as skin allergies or contact dermatitis, skin irritation, skin sensitization, eye irritation, and eye damage. It may also trigger chronic fatigue, joint pain, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, insomnia, headaches, migraines, and respiratory difficulties such as asthma.

Body systems affected by imidazolidinyl urea

This chemical may weaken the immune system, and may even cause cancer (possible carcinogen). Laboratory tests show that it also affects the reproductive system, causing fetal deaths in the uterus of mice. Imidazolidinyl urea is also a gastrointestinal and liver hazard.

Items that may contain imidazolidinyl urea

Due to its high water solubility, imidazolidinyl urea may be found in water-based products such as facial moisturizers, facial cleansers, general moisturizers, eye cream, anti-aging products, exfoliants and scrubs, hair color or hair bleach, shampoos, liquid hand soaps, shaving cream, sunscreen, deodorants, lotion, face masks, and other skin treatment formulations.

This chemical may also be found in makeup including mascara, foundation, powder, lipstick, blush powder, bronzer, highlighter, eye shadow, lip balm, and eye liners.

Imidazolidinyl urea, when derived from animals, can also be used to “brown” baked goods such as pretzels and various breads.

How to avoid imidazolidinyl urea

Imidazolidinyl urea is found in almost all household body care items as listed above. While it may be unavoidable, it is possible to minimize the use of products containing this chemical. Instead of using highly processed products, use natural alternatives, such as aloe vera for shampoo and avocado or cucumber pulp for soap. It is vital to always read the ingredients list or label of the products that you are looking to buy or use.

In case of eye contact, flush the affected eye with clean, running water. For negative reactions on the skin, wash the affected part with soap and water. If an individual accidentally inhales dusts of products with imidazolidinyl urea (especially powder makeup), move the victim to an open area with fresh air. In case of accidental ingestion, transport the victim to the nearest emergency department. If symptoms (as listed above) persist, contact medical services as soon as possible.

Where to learn more


Imidazolidinyl urea is a cosmetic agent that releases formaldehyde.

Imidazolidinyl urea can cause contact dermatitis and other negative side effects.

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