Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Hair Blowouts & Formaldehyde

On a trip to the salon our health is usually the last thing on our minds. What could be wrong with a simple blowout? Especially one that's claims to be natural and uses keratin-based ingredients to help keep the hair straight. Brazilian Blowout has become on of the more popular choices for straightening at salons. With claims that there's no damage, no harsh chemicals and no formaldehyde who wouldn't want smooth straight hair?

Recently Portland area salon worker complained of eye irritation, nose bleeds and difficulty breathing after using Brazilian Blowout's solution. Dede Montgomery, an Occupational Safety and Health Specialist at the Center for Research in Occupational and Environmental Toxicology (CROET) at Oregon Health & Science University (OSHU) and a NWCOHS External Advisory Board member, and her colleagues began investigating the matter.

Tests showed that the solution labeled “no formaldehyde” contained more than .1% which is required to be listed on the MSDS. Upon further testing with the assistance of Oregon OSHA, the OSHA lab analyzed the sample using five different test methods, each of which concluded that formaldehyde was present above regulated levels around 8.5%.

Due to the lack of information available to the stylists and the company's prominent "formaldehyde free" marketing, CROET has posted a warning on their site and Oregon OSHA has issued a case study on air sampling in salons during the use of the solution. Brazilian Blowout continues to back their product and claims that their product is safe.

If you are thinking of getting this process done, consider the health risks of you and of the salon worker.

For more information:
  • OSHA's case study and press release
  • An extensive amount of resources from CROET's site including the FDA's response and similar issues found in Canada.
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