Will Anything Change?

As I sit back and discover the endless possibilities we have to change our industry, I often think if the currents events are just a ban-aid on the problem of the Formaldehyde issue in our industry. Last year women’s magazines and pop culture blogs were afire with the news that the popular Brazilian Blowout–an expensive salon treatment that promises to smooth and straighten hair for up to six months–released formaldehyde, a known carcinogen. Hair Scare! Brazilian Bombshell! It was a story made for clever headlines and consumer backlash. Not only was the treatment exposing women to carcinogens, the products used in the Brazilian Blowout treatment were actually labeled “formaldehyde free,” when they clearly weren’t. Moreover, in the midst of the media blitz, the U.S. federal government’s National Toxicology Program officially added formaldehyde to its list of substances known to cause cancer, and the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) declared that one product, Brazilian Blowout Acai Professional Smoothing Solution, contains “unacceptable” levels of formaldehyde.

You’ll notice, however, that the Brazilian Blowout did not disappear from salon menus. In September 2011, the FDA sent Mike Brady, chief executive officer of Brazilian Blowout maker GIB LLC, a firmly worded letter stating that the company’s products contain formaldehyde and were thus mislabeled. But while it might seem logical for the FDA to then remove that product from consumers’ reach, instead it focused on the need for the products to be labeled appropriately. According to both the letter in question and the language of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, it is the manufacturer’s responsibility to ensure that the products it markets are safe and otherwise in compliance with all applicable legal and regulatory requirements.

In addition to the FDA letter, GIB LLC was also sued by the state of California, where it is headquartered. The results of that suit came through in the form of a settlement that requires GIB, LLC, which does business under the name Brazilian Blowout, to cease deceptive advertising that describes two of its popular products as formaldehyde-free and safe. The company must also make significant changes to its website and pay $600,000 in fees, penalties and costs.

Which begs the question: Should California law–and beyond that, federal law–do more to protect consumers? After all, how many people really read labels, much less on products that are part of a third-party service? And this is a product that, because it releases formaldehyde gas, could affect even those who have chosen not to purchase it.

Opponents have argued that consumers essentially have the right to expose themselves to whatever carcinogens they choose. If you’re to pull this beauty product from shelves, the thinking goes, then you’d also have to pull cigarettes. Then again, if beauty products containing carcinogens had to have the same sort of Surgeon General warnings on them that packs of cigarettes do, perhaps companies would think twice about producing such products. The cigarette analogy works on another level: Remember how smoking bans started when advocates linked second-hand smoke exposure to unfair working conditions? The same route is likely to be taken here, with an eye toward protecting the health and rights of salon workers. Health advocates are pushing for the FDA to step in and do more, especially in light of California’s legal decisions.

The FDA, which has little authority to do much in these sorts of cases, thanks to the wording of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, did warn GIB LLC that failure to correct its violations “may result in enforcement action without further notice, including, but not limited to, seizure and/or injunction.” The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics and the National Healthy Nail and Beauty Salon Alliance are calling on the FDA to follow through with its threat and not only seize Brazilian Blowout products, but ban the use of formaldehyde in hair products. It sounds logical enough, but they may end up with an unlikely opponent in their quest: female consumers.

The thing is, despite nearly two years now of bad press, the Brazilian Blowout is still a popular treatment. Perhaps not quite as popular as it was, but popular nonetheless. Anecdotally, in the past six months I’ve mentioned to at least five female friends who are fond of the treatment that it contains a known carcinogen. Across the board the response was essentially the same, “Doesn’t everything cause cancer these days? Besides, personally I think it’s worth it.”

It’s a response that leads the discussion in one of two ways: On the free market side, there’s the argument that this is a product people want and they should be allowed to buy it, provided they understand the risks; on the public health side, there’s the argument that in some cases consumers need to be protected not only from companies but also from themselves. The same argument crops up around things like bag bans and proposed taxes on unhealthy food and in broader political debates about how and when government should intervene in business. Point being, while the great Brazilian Blowout debate may seem silly, the result of it could have broad implications.

Brazilian Blowout You Really Screwed Up! Hair treatment ruled carcinogenic!

The makers of the popular Brazilian Blowout line of hair-straightening products — which can cost up to $500 per salon treatment — have agreed to change their labeling to warn consumers that the treatments can release formaldehyde gas, which is considered a carcinogen and can cause irritation of the eyes and skin, according to a report from USA Today.
The move by GIB LLC comes following a lawsuit from the California state attorney general’s office. The products are labeled as formaldehyde-free, but last September the FDA warned that Brazilian Blowout contains “dangerously high levels” of the gas. According to a report from WebMD, the FDA found that Brazilian Blowout products contained between 8.7 percent and 10.4 percent formaldehyde. Levels about 0.1 percent required an occupational hazard alert under guidelines from the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

At the time, GIB CEO Mike Brady denied that his company’s products contained formaldehyde.
The FDA and OSHA issued their first health hazard about Brazilian Blowout in April 2011 to let salon workers and owners know about the potential for formaldehyde exposure from these products.
The FDA issued a warning letter to GIB on Aug. 22, 2011, saying “Brazilian Blowout contains methylene glycol, the liquid form of formaldehyde, which, under the conditions of use prescribed in the labeling, releases formaldehyde when hair treated with the product is heated with a blow dryer and then with a hot flat iron.” The agency reported a wide range of health problems that had been reported by users of the products: “Adverse events have reported the following injuries associated with Brazilian Blowout: eye disorders (irritation, increased lacrimation, blurred vision, hyperaemia); nervous system disorders (headache, burning sensation, dizziness, syncope), and respiratory tract (dyspnea, cough, nasal discomfort, epistaxis, wheezing, rhinorrhea, throat irritation, nasopharyngitis). Other reported symptoms included nausea hypotrichosis, chest pain, chest discomfort, vomiting, and rash.”
The FDA has authority over product packaging, but has none over the operation of salons. OSHA, on the other hand, governs workplace safety, including air conditions.
The FDA’s warning letter presented CEO Brady with an ultimatum: “You should take prompt action to correct the violations cited in this letter. Failure to do so may result in enforcement action without further notice, including, but not limited to, seizure and/or injunction.”
The state of California, where GIB is located, followed the FDA’s letter with its lawsuit, charging deceptive practices.
Health concerns over Brazilian Blowout had been voiced for some time before the FDA letter was sent. Oregon Health & Science University issued a report about the products in September 2010 after complaints from stylists at one of that state’s salons.
 According to a March 2011 report from Fox News, Brazilian Blowout treatments can cost between $200 and $500 and last several months. Despite the growing health concerns, the products have been popular in Hollywood, where celebrities such as Nicole Kidman and Halle Berry have used the treatment.
GIB has agreed to pay $600,000 in penalties and fines and provide salons with a product safety brochure. The company has already changed the labeling of its products. The saddest thing about this whole situation it took a organization outside of our industry to do something about the proble. Way to go pba.org it’s all about manufacturer dollars in my industry. You all suck!

Change your Industry? Really think about it! Change is good!

Does the thought of cosmetology losing its professional status by the elimination of the license sends chills up and down your spine? Hold on folks, don’t worry! There are a lot of ways to lose your professional status other than the elimination of a license.

Think about most of the other industrialized countries that do not have licenses and no harm has come to them as a result of not being licensed. As a matter of fact, the cosmetologist are held in higher esteem than are their counterparts in the US. As it stands now, beauty schools have to teach their students the criteria to pass the licensing examination. Their future funding is based on their ability to have their students pass their arbitrary examination, which has little to do with real life in the salon. Furthermore, beauty schools may put as many cosmetologist into the workforce as possible, without any requirement for schools to support job placement. 

The Indiana Regulated Occupational Evaluation Committee (ROEC) had it right when they said the cosmetology profession should be self-regulating. “We all have friends who have their hair done, so all we need do is ask someone for a recommendation”. In fact, salons are reliant on repeat business. Without that dynamic, salons cannot stay in business. I would suggest there would be no harm coming to the salons if the license is eliminated. Those who are thriving would continue to thrive, those who are struggling would continue to struggle or go out of business. Consumers would draw their own conclusions as to what salons they would frequent. 

ROEC states,”..a voluntary organization to be formed, based on a small fee from each professional.  Membership in the voluntary organization could be based on prescribed qualifications that would provide a basis for designation as a preferred provider. Professionals who choose to practice without the preferred provider designation would do so at their own risk in the marketplace.” 

Salons would have something to say about how their future employees are to be trained while in school. Currently, schools do not listen to the needs of licensed cosmetologist and salon owners. If we suggest a change of curriculum, they respond that curricula is mandated by the state board. To those who say, “If there is no license than anyone can do hair”, my response is “Anyone can do hair now and they are.” In California, the Cosmetology Board licenses 35,000 annually, and no jobs are being created. It’s naive to think these people are not doing someone’s hair.   According to the ROEC, “The cosmetology license does not prevent practitioners from incompetence. As a matter of fact, most of the complaints received by State Board come from people reporting unlicensed activity”.  

I have trained many apprentices through the years. Something happens to the apprentice at the end of their two-year apprenticeship when they become licensed. They often cop an attitude like now I am as good him (me) since I have the same license as he does. Once a person earns their license, not all but many, feel they have nothing else to learn. I, myself, had the same attitude when graduating and becoming licensed. So before you rant about it, stop and think about what it would be like with just an apprenticeship program. The ONLY reason to go to beauty school is to become a professional cosmetologist. Sadly, that is no longer the case. This bill will also clean out all the industry SCUM BAGS, that push students through for their acquisition of Pell Grants, Government loans etc. Not worrying about the education they give to students, but to make a profit from the students. Remember this is just a license, that is why we go to beauty school to be trained to take a test. THAT IS IT! In my industry I always hear from so-called professionals these students don’t know anything, well my opinion is don’t blame the student, blame the schooling they receive. How would you like to be ripped off financially for a beauty school education, take a look at the price’s of tuition at the Paul Mitchell schools. It’s crazy to pay huge amounts for schooling that teach’s you only the requirements for a state test. Europeans has no license. Do you think in the state of Florida the continuing education requirements are kept up to date, There not. Change is good everyone.  But when you really take the time to research this industry, you really find out that corruption will prevail, financial attainment by manufacturers and beauty schools will have the final say on CHANGE IN THIS INDUSTRY. It all comes back to the manufacturer dollar, in this industry.  And there will be no change in this industry unless YOU change. Change in the way your handle your retail space, your employment practices, researching what are the most “SAFE” products you can use in the salon and on your customers, learn to think on your own and not taking a manufacturers word as gospel, quit playing follow the leader and elect your own industry leaders, learn how to say “ENOUGH IS ENOUGH”. 

Change is Good!

The Real Hair Truth: The chemical name game!

Brands that hide formaldehyde

Brands that hide formaldehyde!

The chemical name game

EWG has investigated 16 companies that make hair-straightening products with high formaldehyde content. All exceed safety limits set by the Cosmetic Ingredient Review, an industry safety panel. Which hair straighteners come clean about their formaldehyde content?  None, in EWG’s review.

The Real Hair Truth Documentary Blog!.


Federal Guidelines The Beauty Industry Must Follow For Permissible Exposure Limit to Airborne Formaldehyde

In our industry a salon owner will more or less do what is legally correct for there employee’s. Being a fully functional and viable business is far and few in my industry. The bottom line is the almighty dollar!  Shortcuts for the health and welfare of employee’s are consider abundant and the ever mounting chemicals that are used in the salon grow newer and newer each and every year. You life is very important and the care involved with protecting your body and health should be first and foremost to the employer in our industry. But it is also your responsibility to speak up and question about the environment that you work in on a daily basis. If you are a employee of a salon make sure the lighting is working properly in your salon, if not speak up. Straining of the yes will limit the focusing power of the eye. Making headaches a every day happening, and if your client cannot see the service that he or she just paid for. Well that is not a good impression for you to give, and it will fall back on you not the salon owner. Air conditioning should work properly in the salon. Working in Florida the hot summer months will sap all the energy out of you and leave you and your client with a very unforgettable appointment. Look out if the salon owner is trying to cut costs with air-conditioning in your salon. If you chair does not properly lock, and does not basically work this will lead to back problems for you. Fix the problem, speak up. when dealing with a chemical in your salon, make sure the owner has proper MSDS sheets on the product in the salon. Also ask the manufacturer for the ingredients list of the product. If they will not give it to you then call your local OSHA OFFICE .

They will gladly assign an agent to get the proper material that you will need for using these products in your salon. Do not take the advice or the word of the salon owner ask question to your employer. If you are a booth renter in a salon that also has commission employee’s ask the salon owner for the chemical product list he or she use’s in the salon and make sure that they meet the requirements of OSHA! Do not use chemicals that you are unsure of. Trust your inner voice. Ask questions. You have only one life and one body protect it. The salon charges for these keratin treatments are not worth your health at all. And simply do not take the work of a manufacturer in our industry, research you products and give the Best To Your Clients! And protect your body. Below are the Permissible Exposure Limits to Airborne Formaldehyde in your salon, read these carefully and if you are unsure please contact your local OSHA OFFICE. You do not need to breathe these chemicals in your body and also you need to research what you are using in the salon. In a commission salon you are at the whims of the salon owner, INVESTIGATE AND MOST OF ALL REPORT IF YOU ARE EXPOSED TO THESE PRODUCTS!

The employer shall establish regulated areas where the concentration of airborne formaldehyde exceeds either the TWA or the STEL and post all entrances and accessways with signs bearing the following information:


The employer shall limit access to regulated areas to authorized persons who have been trained to recognize the hazards of formaldehyde.


An employer at a multiemployer worksite who establishes a regulated area shall communicate the access restrictions and locations of these areas to other employers with work operations at that worksite.


Methods of compliance –


Engineering controls and work practices. The employer shall institute engineering and work practice controls to reduce and maintain employee exposures to formaldehyde at or below the TWA and the STEL.


Exception. Whenever the employer has established that feasible engineering and work practice controls cannot reduce employee exposure to or below either of the PELs, the employer shall apply these controls to reduce employee exposures to the extent feasible and shall supplement them with respirators which satisfy this standard.


Respiratory protection.


General. For employees who use respirators required by this section, the employer must provide each employee an appropriate respirator that complies with the requirements of this paragraph. Respirators must be used during:


Periods necessary to install or implement feasible engineering and work-practice controls.


Work operations, such as maintenance and repair activities or vessel cleaning, for which the employer establishes that engineering and work-practice controls are not feasible.


Work operations for which feasible engineering and work- practice controls are not yet sufficient to reduce employee exposure to or below the PELs.

Respirator program.


The employer must implement a respiratory protection program in accordance with § 1910.134(b) through (d) (except (d)(1)(iii), (d)(3)(iii)(b)(1), and (2)), and (f) through (m), which covers each employee required by this section to use a respirator.


When employees use air-purifying respirators with chemical cartridges or canisters that do not contain end-of-service-life indicators approved by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, employers must replace these cartridges or canisters as specified by paragraphs (d)(3)(iii)(B)(1) and (B)(2) of 29 CFR 1910.134, or at the end of the workshift, whichever condition occurs first.


Replace the cartridge after three (3) hours of use or at the end of the workshift, whichever occurs first, unless the cartridge contains a NIOSH-approved end-of-service-life indicator (ESLI) to show when breakthrough occurs.


Unless the canister contains a NIOSH-approved ESLI to show when breakthrough occurs, replace canisters used in atmospheres up to 7.5 ppm (10xPEL) every four (4) hours and industrial-sized canisters used in atmospheres up to 75 ppm (100xPEL) every two (2) hours, or at the end of the workshift, whichever occurs first.


Respirator selection.


Employers must:


Select, and provide to employees, the appropriate respirators specified in paragraph (d)(3)(i)(A) of 29 CFR 1910.134.


Equip each air-purifying, full facepiece respirator with a canister or cartridge approved for protection against formaldehyde.


For escape, provide employees with one of the following respirator options: A self-contained breathing apparatus operated in the demand or pressure-demand mode; or a full facepiece respirator having a chin-style, or a front-or back-mounted industrial-size, canister or cartridge approved for protection against formaldehyde.


Employers may substitute an air-purifying, half mask respirator for an air-purifying, full facepiece respirator when they equip the half mask respirator with a cartridge approved for protection against formaldehyde and provide the affected employee with effective gas-proof goggles.


Employers must provide employees who have difficulty using negative pressure respirators with powered air-purifying respirators permitted for use under paragraph (g)(3)(i)(A) of this standard and that affords adequate protection against formaldehyde exposures.


Protective equipment and clothing. Employers shall comply with the provisions of 29 CFR 1910.132 and 29 CFR 1910.133. When protective equipment or clothing is provided under these provisions, the employer shall provide these protective devices at no cost to the employee and assure that the employee wears them.


Selection. The employer shall select protective clothing and equipment based upon the form of formaldehyde to be encountered, the conditions of use, and the hazard to be prevented.


All contact of the eyes and skin with liquids containing 1 percent or more formaldehyde shall be prevented by the use of chemical protective clothing made of material impervious to formaldehyde and the use of other personal protective equipment, such as goggles and face shields, as appropriate to the operation.


Contact with irritating or sensitizing materials shall be prevented to the extent necessary to eliminate the hazard.


Where a face shield is worn, chemical safety goggles are also required if there is a danger of formaldehyde reaching the area of the eye.


Full body protection shall be worn for entry into areas where concentrations exceed 100 ppm and for emergency reentry into areas of unknown concentration.


Maintenance of protective equipment and clothing.


The employer shall assure that protective equipment and clothing that has become contaminated with formaldehyde is cleaned or laundered before its reuse.


When ventilating formaldehyde-contaminated clothing and equipment, the employer shall establish a storage area so that employee exposure is minimized. Containers for contaminated clothing and equipment and storage areas shall have labels and signs containing the following information:



The employer shall assure that only persons trained to recognize the hazards of formaldehyde remove the contaminated material from the storage area for purposes of cleaning, laundering, or disposal.


The employer shall assure that no employee takes home equipment or clothing that is contaminated with formaldehyde.


The employer shall repair or replace all required protective clothing and equipment for each affected employee as necessary to assure its effectiveness.


The employer shall inform any person who launders, cleans, or repairs such clothing or equipment of formaldehyde’s potentially harmful effects and of procedures to safely handle the clothing and equipment.


Hygiene protection.


The employer shall provide change rooms, as described in 29 CFR 1910.141 for employees who are required to change from work clothing into protective clothing to prevent skin contact with formaldehyde.


If employees’ skin may become splashed with solutions containing 1 percent or greater formaldehyde, for example, because of equipment failure or improper work practices, the employer shall provide conveniently located quick drench showers and assure that affected employees use these facilities immediately.


If there is any possibility that an employee’s eyes may be splashed with solutions containing 0.1 percent or greater formaldehyde, the employer shall provide acceptable eyewash facilities within the immediate work area for emergency use.


Housekeeping. For operations involving formaldehyde liquids or gas, the employer shall conduct a program to detect leaks and spills, including regular visual inspections.


Preventative maintenance of equipment, including surveys for leaks, shall be undertaken at regular intervals.


In work areas where spillage may occur, the employer shall make provisions to contain the spill, to decontaminate the work area, and to dispose of the waste.


The employer shall assure that all leaks are repaired and spills are cleaned promptly by employees wearing suitable protective equipment and trained in proper methods for cleanup and decontamination.


Formaldehyde-contaminated waste and debris resulting from leaks or spills shall be placed for disposal in sealed containers bearing a label warning of formaldehyde’s presence and of the hazards associated with formaldehyde.


Emergencies. For each workplace where there is the possibility of an emergency involving formaldehyde, the employer shall assure appropriate procedures are adopted to minimize injury and loss of life. Appropriate procedures shall be implemented in the event of an emergency.


Medical surveillance –


Employees covered.


The employer shall institute medical surveillance programs for all employees exposed to formaldehyde at concentrations at or exceeding the action level or exceeding the STEL.


The employer shall make medical surveillance available for employees who develop signs and symptoms of overexposure to formaldehyde and for all employees exposed to formaldehyde in emergencies. When determining whether an employee may be experiencing signs and symptoms of possible overexposure to formaldehyde, the employer may rely on the evidence that signs and symptoms associated with formaldehyde exposure will occur only in exceptional circumstances when airborne exposure is less than 0.1 ppm and when formaldehyde is present in material in concentrations less than 0.1 percent.


Examination by a physician. All medical procedures, including administration of medical disease questionnaires, shall be performed by or under the supervision of a licensed physician and shall be provided without cost to the employee, without loss of pay, and at a reasonable time and place.


Medical disease questionnaire. The employer shall make the following medical surveillance available to employees prior to assignment to a job where formaldehyde exposure is at or above the action level or above the STEL and annually thereafter. The employer shall also make the following medical surveillance available promptly upon determining that an employee is experiencing signs and symptoms indicative of possible overexposure to formaldehyde.


Administration of a medical disease questionnaire, such as in Appendix D, which is designed to elicit information on work history, smoking history, any evidence of eye, nose, or throat irritation; chronic airway problems or hyperreactive airway disease: allergic skin conditions or dermatitis; and upper or lower respiratory problems.


A determination by the physician, based on evaluation of the medical disease questionnaire, of whether a medical examination is necessary for employees not required to wear respirators to reduce exposure to formaldehyde.


Medical examinations. Medical examinations shall be given to any employee who the physician feels, based on information in the medical disease questionnaire, may be at increased risk from exposure to formaldehyde and at the time of initial assignment and at least annually thereafter to all employees required to wear a respirator to reduce exposure to formaldehyde. The medical examination shall include:


A physical examination with emphasis on evidence of irritation or sensitization of the skin and respiratory system, shortness of breath, or irritation of the eyes.


Laboratory examinations for respirator wearers consisting of baseline and annual pulmonary function tests. As a minimum, these tests shall consist of forced vital capacity (FVC), forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV(1)), and forced expiratory flow (FEF).


Any other test which the examining physician deems necessary to complete the written opinion.


Counseling of employees having medical conditions that would be directly or indirectly aggravated by exposure to formaldehyde on the increased risk of impairment of their health.


Examinations for employees exposed in an emergency. The employer shall make medical examinations available as soon as possible to all employees who have been exposed to formaldehyde in an emergency.


The examination shall include a medical and work history with emphasis on any evidence of upper or lower respiratory problems, allergic conditions, skin reaction or hypersensitivity, and any evidence of eye, nose, or throat irritation.


Other examinations shall consist of those elements considered appropriate by the examining physician.


Information provided to the physician. The employer shall provide the following information to the examining physician:


A copy of this standard and Appendix A, C, D, and E;


A description of the affected employee’s job duties as they relate to the employee’s exposure to formaldehyde;


The representative exposure level for the employee’s job assignment;


Information concerning any personal protective equipment and respiratory protection used or to be used by the employee; and


Information from previous medical examinations of the affected employee within the control of the employer.


In the event of a nonroutine examination because of an emergency, the employer shall provide to the physician as soon as possible: a description of how the emergency occurred and the exposure the victim may have received.


Physician’s written opinion.


For each examination required under this standard, the employer shall obtain a written opinion from the examining physician. This written opinion shall contain the results of the medical examination except that it shall not reveal specific findings or diagnoses unrelated to occupational exposure to formaldehyde. The written opinion shall include:


The physician’s opinion as to whether the employee has any medical condition that would place the employee at an increased risk of material impairment of health from exposure to formaldehyde;


Any recommended limitations on the employee’s exposure or changes in the use of personal protective equipment, including respirators;


A statement that the employee has been informed by the physician of any medical conditions which would be aggravated by exposure to formaldehyde, whether these conditions may have resulted from past formaldehyde exposure or from exposure in an emergency, and whether there is a need for further examination or treatment.


The employer shall provide for retention of the results of the medical examination and tests conducted by the physician.


The employer shall provide a copy of the physician’s written opinion to the affected employee within 15 days of its receipt.


Medical removal.


The provisions of paragraph (l)(8) apply when an employee reports significant irritation of the mucosa of the eyes or of the upper airways, respiratory sensitization, dermal irritation, or dermal sensitization attributed to workplace formaldehyde exposure. Medical removal provisions do not apply in the case of dermal irritation or dermal sensitization when the product suspected of causing the dermal condition contains less than 0.05 percent formaldehyde.


An employee’s report of signs or symptoms of possible overexposure to formaldehyde shall be evaluated by a physician selected by the employer pursuant to paragraph (l)(3). If the physician determines that a medical examination is not necessary under paragraph (l)(3)(ii), there shall be a two-week evaluation and remediation period to permit the employer to ascertain whether the signs or symptoms subside untreated or with the use of creams, gloves, first aid treatment or personal protective equipment. Industrial hygiene measures that limit the employee’s exposure to formaldehyde may also be implemented during this period. The employee shall be referred immediately to a physician prior to expiration of the two-week period if the signs or symptoms worsen. Earnings, seniority and benefits may not be altered during the two-week period by virtue of the report.


If the signs or symptoms have not subsided or been remedied by the end of the two-week period, or earlier if signs or symptoms warrant, the employee shall be examined by a physician selected by the employer. The physician shall presume, absent contrary evidence, that observed dermal irritation or dermal sensitization are not attributable to formaldehyde when products to which the affected employee is exposed contain less than 0.1 percent formaldehyde.


Medical examinations shall be conducted in compliance with the requirements of paragraph (l)(5)(i) and (ii). Additional guidelines for conducting medical exams are contained in Appendix C.


If the physician finds that significant irritation of the mucosa of the eyes or of the upper airways, respiratory sensitization, dermal irritation, or dermal sensitization result from workplace formaldehyde exposure and recommends restrictions or removal, the employer shall promptly comply with the restrictions or recommendation of removal. In the event of a recommendation of removal, the employer shall remove the affected employee from the current formaldehyde exposure and if possible, transfer the employee to work having no or significantly less exposure to formaldehyde.


When an employee is removed pursuant to paragraph (l)(8)(v), the employer shall transfer the employee to comparable work for which the employee is qualified or can be trained in a short period (up to 6 months), where the formaldehyde exposures are as low as possible, but not higher than the action level. The employer shall maintain the employee’s current earnings, seniority, and other benefits. If there is no such work available, the employer shall maintain the employee’s current earnings, seniority and other benefits until such work becomes available, until the employee is determined to be unable to return to workplace formaldehyde exposure, until the employee is determined to be able to return to the original job status, or for six months, whichever comes first.


The employer shall arrange for a follow-up medical examination to take place within six months after the employee is removed pursuant to this paragraph. This examination shall determine if the employee can return to the original job status, or if the removal is to be permanent. The physician shall make a decision within six months of the date the employee was removed as to whether the employee can be returned to the original job status, or if the removal is to be permanent.


An employer’s obligation to provide earnings, seniority and other benefits to a removed employee may be reduced to the extent that the employee receives compensation for earnings lost during the period of removal either from a publicly or employer-funded compensation program or from employment with another employer made possible by virtue of the employee’s removal.


In making determinations of the formaldehyde content of materials under this paragraph the employer may rely on objective data.


Multiple physician review.


After the employer selects the initial physician who conducts any medical examination or consultation to determine whether medical removal or restriction is appropriate, the employee may designate a second physician to review any findings, determinations or recommendations of the initial physician and to conduct such examinations, consultations,and laboratory tests as the second physician deems necessary and appropriate to evaluate the effects of formaldehyde exposure and to facilitate this review.


The employer shall promptly notify an employee of the right to seek a second medical opinion after each occasion that an initial physician conducts a medical examination or consultation for the purpose of medical removal or restriction.


The employer may condition its participation in, and payment for, the multiple physician review mechanism upon the employee doing the following within fifteen (15) days after receipt of the notification of the right to seek a second medical opinion, or receipt of the initial physician’s written opinion, whichever is later;


The employee informs the employer of the intention to seek a second medical opinion, and


The employee initiates steps to make an appointment with a second physician.


If the findings, determinations or recommendations of the second physician differ from those of the initial physician, then the employer and the employee shall assure that efforts are made for the two physicians to resolve the disagreement. If the two physicians are unable to quickly resolve their disagreement, then the employer and the employee through their respective physicians shall designate a third physician who shall be a specialist in the field at issue:


To review the findings, determinations or recommendations of the prior physicians; and


To conduct such examinations, consultations, laboratory tests and discussions with the prior physicians as the third physician deems necessary to resolve the disagreement of the prior physicians.


In the alternative, the employer and the employee or authorized employee representative may jointly designate such third physician.


The employer shall act consistent with the findings, determinations and recommendations of the third physician, unless the employer and the employee reach an agreement which is otherwise consistent with the recommendations of at least one of the three physicians.


Hazard communication –


General. Communication of the hazards associated with formaldehyde in the workplace shall be governed by the requirements of paragraph (m). The definitions of 29 CFR 1910.1200 (c) shall apply under this paragraph.


The following shall be subject to the hazard communication requirements of this paragraph: formaldehyde gas, all mixtures or solutions composed of greater than 0.1 percent formaldehyde, and materials capable of releasing formaldehyde into the air, under reasonably foreseeable conditions of use, at concentrations reaching or exceeding 0.1 ppm.


As a minimum, specific health hazards that the employer shall address are: cancer, irritation and sensitization of the skin and respiratory system, eye and throat irritation, and acute toxicity.


Manufacturers and importers who produce or import formaldehyde or formaldehyde-containing products shall provide downstream employers using or handling these products with an objective determination through the required labels and MSDSs if these items may constitute a health hazard within the meaning of 29 CFR 1910.1200(d) under normal conditions of use.




The employer shall assure that hazard warning labels complying with the requirements of 29 CFR 1910.1200(f) are affixed to all containers of materials listed in paragraph (m)(1)(i), except to the extent that 29 CFR 1910.1200(f) is inconsistent with this paragraph.


Information on labels. As a minimum, for all materials listed in paragraph (m)(1)(i) capable of releasing formaldehyde at levels of 0.1 ppm to 0.5 ppm, labels shall identify that the product contains formaldehyde; list the name and address of the responsible party; and state that physical and health hazard information is readily available from the employer and from material safety data sheets.


For materials listed in paragraph (m)(1)(i) capable of releasing formaldehyde at levels above 0.5 ppm, labels shall appropriately address all hazards as defined in 29 CFR 1910.1200 (d) and 29 CFR 1910.1200 Appendices A and B, including respiratory sensitization, and shall contain the words “Potential Cancer Hazard.”


In making the determinations of anticipated levels of formaldehyde release, the employer may rely on objective data indicating the extent of potential formaldehyde release under reasonably foreseeable conditions of use.


Substitute warning labels. The employer may use warning labels required by other statutes, regulations, or ordinances which impart the same information as the warning statements required by this paragraph.


Material safety data sheets.


Any employer who uses formaldehyde-containing materials listed in paragraph (m)(1)(i) shall comply with the requirements of 29 CFR 1910.1200(g) with regard to the development and updating of material safety data sheets.


Manufacturers, importers, and distributors of formaldehyde-containing materials listed in paragraph (m)(1)(i) shall assure that material safety data sheets and updated information are provided to all employers purchasing such materials at the time of the initial shipment and at the time of the first shipment after a material safety data sheet is updated.


Written hazard communication program. The employer shall develop, implement, and maintain at the workplace, a written hazard communication program for formaldehyde exposures in the workplace, which at a minimum describes how the requirements specified in this paragraph for labels and other forms of warning and material safety data sheets, and paragraph (n) for employee information and training, will be met. Employers in multi-employer workplaces shall comply with the requirements of 29 CFR 1910.1200(e)(2).

Employee information and training –


Participation. The employer shall assure that all employees who are assigned to workplaces where there is exposure to formaldehyde participate in a training program, except that where the employer can show, using objective data, that employees are not exposed to formaldehyde at or above 0.1 ppm, the employer is not required to provide training.


Frequency. Employers shall provide such information and training to employees at the time of initial assignment, and whenever a new exposure to formaldehyde is introduced into the work area. The training shall be repeated at least annually.


Training program. The training program shall be conducted in a manner which the employee is able to understand and shall include:


A discussion of the contents of this regulation and the contents of the Material Safety Data Sheet.


The purpose for and a description of the medical surveillance program required by this standard, including:


A description of the potential health hazards associated with exposure to formaldehyde and a description of the signs and symptoms of exposure to formaldehyde.


Instructions to immediately report to the employer the development of any adverse signs or symptoms that the employee suspects is attributable to formaldehyde exposure.


Description of operations in the work area where formaldehyde is present and an explanation of the safe work practices appropriate for limiting exposure to formaldehyde in each job;


The purpose for, proper use of, and limitations of personal protective clothing and equipment;


Instructions for the handling of spills, emergencies, and clean-up procedures;


An explanation of the importance of engineering and work practice controls for employee protection and any necessary instruction in the use of these controls; and


A review of emergency procedures including the specific duties or assignments of each employee in the event of an emergency.


Access to training materials.


The employer shall inform all affected employees of the location of written training materials and shall make these materials readily available, without cost, to the affected employees.


The employer shall provide, upon request, all training materials relating to the employee training program to the Assistant Secretary and the Director.


Recordkeeping –


Exposure measurements. The employer shall establish and maintain an accurate record of all measurements taken to monitor employee exposure to formaldehyde. This record shall include:


The date of measurement;


The operation being monitored;


The methods of sampling and analysis and evidence of their accuracy and precision;


The number, durations, time, and results of samples taken;


The types of protective devices worn; and


The names, job classifications, social security numbers, and exposure estimates of the employees whose exposures are represented by the actual monitoring results.


Exposure determinations. Where the employer has determined that no monitoring is required under this standard, the employer shall maintain a record of the objective data relied upon to support the determination that no employee is exposed to formaldehyde at or above the action level.


Medical surveillance. The employer shall establish and maintain an accurate record for each employee subject to medical surveillance under this standard. This record shall include:


The name and social security number of the employee;


The physician’s written opinion;


A list of any employee health complaints that may be related to exposure to formaldehyde; and


A copy of the medical examination results, including medical disease questionnaires and results of any medical tests required by the standard or mandated by the examining physician.


Respirator fit testing.


The employer shall establish and maintain accurate records for employees subject to negative pressure respirator fit testing required by this standard.


This record shall include:


A copy of the protocol selected for respirator fit testing.


A copy of the results of any fit testing performed.


The size and manufacturer of the types of respirators available for selection.


The date of the most recent fit testing, the name and social security number of each tested employee, and the respirator type and facepiece selected.


Record retention. The employer shall retain records required by this standard for at least the following periods:


Exposure records and determinations shall be kept for at least 30 years.


Medical records shall be kept for the duration of employment plus 30 years.


Respirator fit testing records shall be kept until replaced by a more recent record.


Availability of records.


Upon request, the employer shall make all records maintained as a requirement of this standard available for examination and copying to the Assistant Secretary and the Director.


The employer shall make employee exposure records, including estimates made from representative monitoring and available upon request for examination, and copying to the subject employee, or former employee, and employee representatives in accordance with 29 CFR 1910.1020 (a)-(e) and (g)-(i).


Employee medical records required by this standard shall be provided upon request for examination and copying, to the subject employee or former employee or to anyone having the specific written consent of the subject employee or former employee in accordance with 29 CFR 1910.1020 (a)-(e) and (g)-(i).