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Mr Clean Magic Erasers Contain Formaldehyde Hoax

Summary:
Email forward warns that Mr Clean Magic Erasers contain formaldehyde and can pose significant health risks to users (Full commentary below.)



Status:
False

Example:(Submitted, July 2006)
IF YOU ARE USING MR. CLEAN MAGIC ERASERS....STOP!

HI EVERYONE,

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. THANKS

PS- SORRY FOR THE BAD NEWS, I WAS DISAPPOINTED TOO!




Commentary:
This emailed warning claims that Mr Clean Magic Erasers contain formaldehyde and are potentially dangerous to users, especially children. However, the claims in the warning message are unfounded and they have been denied by Procter & Gamble, the company that markets the product. Mr Clean Magic Erasers are sponge cleaners that are suitable for a range of household cleaning jobs.

The rumour may have derived from a misinterpretation of the chemical name of an ingredient in the product. According to information about the rumour on Procter & Gamble's "Mr. Clean" website:
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.).

Trace amounts of formaldehyde may be present in the product as a result of the manufacturing process. However, according to Procter & Gamble, "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".

The message claims that Mr Clean Magic Erasers are "slowly being banned from all stores". However, research reveals that there is no legitimate information pertaining to a recall of the product. If Magic Erasers really did contain formaldehyde or another dangerous product and were being recalled, information about the recall would be available via official sources and news media. Genuine warnings to consumers about potentially dangerous products tend to be well publicized, and they certainly do not rely solely on the random distribution of a vague and poorly written email forward (especially one amateurishly rendered in all capital letters).

Thus the "warning" has no foundation in fact and it should not be forwarded.

References:
Mr. Clean Magic Eraser: Information you should know
Product Summary: Mr. Clean Magic Eraser

Last updated: 21st July 2006
First published: 21st July 2006

Write-up by Brett M.Christensen