Old Wives' Tales
Radio & TV
Toxin du jour
Claim: Mr. Clean Magic Erasers have been banned from stores because the product contains formaldehyde.
Example: [Collected via e-mail, 2006]
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.
A recent television broadcast may have raised concerns about an ingredient in Magic Eraser. Be assuredDespite the e-mail's claim that Mr. Clean Magic Erasers are "slowly being banned from all stores," we found no evidence that is so. Neither the manufacturer nor any governmental agency has issued a recall for the product, and Magic Erasers are still widely available in every major grocery and drug store chain we've checked.
Here are some facts about the ingredients used in Magic Eraser:
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):
One of my five year old's favorite chores around the house is cleaning scuff marks off the walls, doors, and baseboards with either an Easy Eraser pad, or the real deal, aAfter much back-and-forth, the issue was apparently resolved in January 2007 when the product's manufacturer (3M) issued an apology and a statement that they had "addressed the issue and are taking steps to change the packaging to warn other consumers of the potential reaction to using the product on the skin."
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
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