Quaternium-15 is one of many substances that forms formaldehyde in cosmetic products, i.e releases formaldehyde. Hence, the use of this substance could potentially have the same effects as formaldehyde.
The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) classifies this substance as “toxic to aquatic life with long lasting effects, is a flammable solid, is harmful if swallowed, causes skin irritation and may cause an allergic skin reaction, substance is toxic in contact with skin, causes serious eye irritation, is suspected of damaging fertility or the unborn child and may cause damage to organs through prolonged or repeated exposure.”
The EU has concluded that quaternium-15 “use in cosmetic products may not be safe for the consumers.” But so far there are no restrictions for the use of the substance in cosmetics within the EU.
Because this substance releases formaldehyde, it is on the Red List* from Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, a project of Breast Cancer Prevention Partners (previously the Breast Cancer Fund).
This substance may form formaldehyde in cosmetic products and may therefore be contaminated by:
- Formaldehyde – linked to cancer, damaged fertility and allergies
* “The Red List includes chemicals found in personal care products that pose serious, chronic health concerns including cancer, hormone disruption, and reproductive and developmental harm. The list also flags chemicals that are banned or have use restrictions by the U.S. or other world governments, ingredients that adversely impact worker health, and ingredients that are widely used in products marketed to women of color.” – Campaign for Safe Cosmetics