Tag: keratin

Brazilian Blowout Gets Blowback From the FDA, Do You Think The So Called Beauty Industry Cares?

Five months ago, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued a hazard alert about Brazilian Blowout and similar hair smoothing and straightening products, warning that hair salon workers and clients could potentially be exposed to formaldehyde by using them.

Now the FDA has sent a warning letter to the makers of Brazilian Blowout confirming that the product is “adulterated” with the liquid form of formaldehyde, “which, under the conditions of use prescribed in the labeling,” releases dangerous levels of the chemical — a known carcinogen — into the air to be inhaled.

The FDA letter also said that Brazilian Blowout is “misbranded” because the product’s label falsely declares it to contain “No Formaldehyde” or that it is “Formaldehyde Free.

The company has until mid-Sept. to address the violations cited by the FDA or risk having its product seized. “It is your responsibility as a manufacturer to ensure that the products your firm markets are safe,” wrote Michael W. Roosevelt, acting director of the Office of Compliance at the FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, in the warning letter to Brazilian Blowout CEO Mike Brady.

Salon workers and customers using the hair-straightening solutions have suffered side effects like eye and throat irritation, headache, dizziness, burning sensations, breathing problems, nosebleeds, chest pain, vomiting and rash, according to the FDA. Formaldehyde is released when hair treated with Brazilian Blowout is heated with a blow dryer and then with a hot flat iron, as the product’s labeling recommends.

The FDA’s analysis found that Brazilian Blowout contains 8.7% to 10.4% formaldehyde, which puts it in the range of embalming fluid used by funeral homes — and is far higher than the 0.2% that the Cosmetics Ingredient Review Expert Panel considers safe. (Why is formaldehyde in hair products, you ask? Because it helps bind keratin to hair, straightening it.)

For its part, the makers of Brazilian Blowout say the product is safe. “We have been tested countless times by OSHA,” Brady told NPR’s Shots blog. “And we have never exceeded a safety standard ever.”

“In our continued effort to clear up misinformation about the Brazilian Blowout, we are delighted to be working with the FDA in demonstrating that the Brazilian Blowout complies with both state and federal guidelines,” a brief statement on the product website says, encouraging hair salons to “continue to confidently offer the Brazilian Blowout treatment to your customers.”

Many salons across the U.S. may be currently using Brazilian Blowout or similar frizz-taming products. In April, Healthland contributor Bryan Walsh spoke with Jane Houlihan, vice president for research at the Environmental Working Group. She said: “We surveyed 41 top salons and found that almost all of them are using hair-straightening treatments. We look across the industry, and the fact is if you’re using a Brazilian-style keratin treatment, it’s almost certainly releasing formaldehyde.”

Given the FDA’s warning, Brazilian Blowout may not be around much longer, at least not in its current formulation. It’s already been banned in Canada. But the fact that a hair product containing potentially dangerous levels of formaldehyde was able to end up in salons in the first place shows just how lacking regulation of the cosmetics industry is.

US Labor Department’s OSHA issues hazard Alert!

 

US Labor Department’s OSHA issues hazard alert to hair salon owners, workers
on smoothing and straightening products that could release formaldehyde!

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration is issuing a hazard alert to hair salon owners and workers about potential formaldehyde exposure from working with some hair smoothing and straightening products.

The hazard alert, available on OSHA’s website at http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/formaldehyde/hazard_alert.html, provides information about OSHA’s investigations, the health hazards of formaldehyde and how to protect people who are working with hair smoothing and straightening products.

Responding to complaints and referrals about possible exposure to formaldehyde, federal OSHA and many state occupational safety and health agencies are conducting investigations. Oregon’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Connecticut’s Department of Public Health, and agencies in several other states already have issued warnings.

Federal OSHA has found formaldehyde in the air when stylists used hair smoothing products, some of which do not have formaldehyde listed on their labels or in material safety data sheets as required by law. During one investigation, the agency’s air tests showed formaldehyde at levels greater than OSHA’s limits for a salon, even though the product tested was labeled as formaldehyde-free. California’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration recently issued violations to an importer and distributer of smoothing products labeled formaldehyde-free for failing to list formaldehyde as a hazardous ingredient on the company’s product labels and in the material safety data sheets.

Formaldehyde presents a health hazard if workers are exposed. It can irritate the eyes and nose; cause allergic reactions of the skin, eyes and lungs; and is linked to nose and lung cancer.

OSHA requires manufacturers, importers and distributors of products that contain formaldehyde as a gas or in solution, or that can release formaldehyde during use, to include information about formaldehyde and its hazards on product labels and in the material safety data sheets that are sent to employers.

“Workers have the right to know the risks associated with the chemicals with which they work, and how to protect themselves,” said federal OSHA Assistant Secretary Dr. David Michaels. “Employers need to know these risks in order to ensure the safety and health of their employees.”

To eliminate potential worker exposure, OSHA recommends that salon owners use products that do not contain formaldehyde, methylene glycol, formalin, methylene oxide, paraform, formic aldehyde, methanal, oxomethane, oxymethylene or Chemical Abstract Service Number 50-00-0.

If a salon owner decides to continue using a formaldehyde-containing hair smoothing product, then he or she must follow OSHA’s formaldehyde standard. Important requirements of this standard include conducting air monitoring, installing ventilation where needed and training workers about formaldehyde, as well as providing protective equipment such as gloves, chemical splash goggles, face shields and chemical resistant aprons.

The material safety data sheet includes important information about what a product contains and how the ingredients can affect a worker’s health. Salon owners and other employers must have a material safety data sheet for any of the products they use that contain hazardous chemicals. They must also make the sheet available to stylists and other workers.

OSHA currently has a number of ongoing investigations at salons and of importers/distributors/manufacturers relating to hair smoothing and straightening products. Some citations have been issued.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov/index.html.