By Tamryn |
The makers of the Brazilian Blowout line of hair straightening treatments have settled a lawsuit with the state of California, agreeing to include warnings that two of their products can expose stylists and their clients to formaldehyde gas, a carcinogenic.
California-based company GIB had previously claimed that the Brazilian Blowout products were “formaldehyde free.”
The Federal Drug Administration disagreed. Following complaints about health issues arising from the use of Brazilian Blowout, the FDA found it had levels of formaldehyde in the 8 to 10 percent range. Meanwhile, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires that anything with levels of just 0.1 percent of the cancer-causing substance have a warning.
In August 2011, the FDA, in a letter to the makers of the popular hair smoothing product, said: “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.”
According to the FDA, health problems reported by users included eye irritation, blurred vision, headaches, dizziness, cough, nasal irritation, wheezing, throat irritation, chest pain, vomiting and rash, among others.
To smooth things out, as it were, GIB will also pay $600,000 in fines, according to the settlement.
The company first took some heat for their keratin hair treatment in 2010 after an Oregon hair stylist complained about health problems from using the Brazilian Blowout and tests revealed it contained a whopping 10.4 percent of formaldehyde, a known cancer causer. The state of California sued GIB, and last year more lawsuits followed.
GIB made changes to the labeling of their products in advance of the settlement.
But despite the health concerns over the Brazilian Blowout, many salons and stylists continue to offer it, for which their clients, who swear by the frizz-free results, are grateful and happily don gas masks to protect themselves if that’s what it takes to have silky, shiny, nearly care-free hair for three to four months.
There are many brands of keratin straighteners and not all contain formaldehyde. At least some say they don’t. But so did GIB. So if you want to get a Brazilian treatment done on your hair, it’s probably best to be safe than sorry and take precautions.