Brazilian blowouts have become the new “it thing,” relaxing frizzy hair and giving the consumer gleamingly beautiful straight hair. While blowouts could deliver the hair that commercial are made of, OSHA has received several complaints from salon owners and consumers about formaldehyde exposure. Many products claim to be “formaldehyde free,” but further investigation from “Oregon’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration, California’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the Connecticut Department of Public Health, and several other state agencies have already issued warnings about these products to salon owners, stylists, other salon workers, and clients (source).”
Misleading Labeling Claims Products are “Formaldehyde Free.”
Let’s not forget that formaldehyde is one of the key ingredients in embalming fluid. While the label doesn’t specifically list formaldehyde as an ingredient, other known additives such as methylene glycol (anti-freeze), release formaldehyde when applied.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a warning letter to the importer and distributor of Brazilian Blowout Acai Professional Smoothing Solution (GIB LLC dba Brazilian Blowout) identifying this product as adulterated and misbranded because it contains methylene glycol, which can release formaldehyde during the normal conditions of use, and because the label makes misleading statements (“Formaldehyde Free” or “No Formaldehyde”). This Hazard Alert provides updated information about OSHA’s investigations, the health hazards of formaldehyde, and how to protect workers using hair smoothing products that contain or release formaldehyde.
Some of the Brazilian Blowout Products Being Investigated at this time
- Brazilian Blowout (Acai Professional Smoothing Solution, Professional Brazilian Blowout Solution)
- Brasil Cacau Cadiveu
- Keratin Complex Smoothing Therapy (Natural Keratin Smoothing Treatment, Express Blow Out, Natural Keratin Smoothing Treatment Blonde)
- Marcia Teixeira (Advanced Brazilian Keratin Treatment, Extreme De-Frizzing Treatment).
Why You Should Be Concerned
OSHA walked into leading salons after several complaints. They tested the air in and found that levels were above their limits for safety. This doesn’t include all of the other ways that you can be exposed to this toxic chemical. Exposure can happen through the air, if it touches your skin, if its on the food you eat, if it’s sprayed or splattered into your eyes or mouth.
The FDA says Brazilian Blowouts contain 8.7% to 10.4% formaldehyde, which puts it in the range of embalming fluid used by funeral homes (source).
Stylists and Consumers Fight Back Against Brazilian Blowouts
In the U.S., makers of the Brazilian Blowout — one of the most popular forms of the treatment — are currently facing a class action lawsuit from 200 people (and counting) who say the product has damaged their health.
The stylist who launched the action, Kimberley Ryley, says every one of her 225 clients reported some kind of symptom from headaches and eye irritation to dermatitis, allergic reactions, chest pain, asthma, insomnia and depression.
There are even fears that prolonged exposure could trigger cancer.
According to EU rules, the level of formaldehyde in the hair solution must be less than 0.2 per cent to protect the health of both stylist and client. But in the U.S., where the straightening treatments have been popular for longer, some manufacturers have been caught using solutions containing up to 50 times the limit (DailyMail).”
I don’t know about you, but if it comes down to my hair and my health, I’m opting for health! If you’ve been using these products, look closely at the labels. Check for the chemicals listed below.
If you know someone who’s been using this type of treatment on their hair, share this story using our links above.