September 20, 2011

The FDA Issues Warning About Fromaldehyde Levels in the Brazilian Blowout

After three years of concern regarding the content of formaldehyde in the Brazilian Blowout, the FDA has finally issued a warning to the company. The Brazilian Blowout is a keratin treatment used in salons, which is designed to permanently straighten curly hair.

The product label explicitly states "formaldehyde free" and the company, GIB, boasts about its safety. They have continued to make these claims even after many salon workers and customers have been hospitalized for eye irritations, blurred vision, headaches, wheezing and chest pain. Further risks of formaldehyde exposure are blindness, nose and lung cancer.

Independent scientific studies have found that the product contains 8.7-10.4% formaldehyde, a quantity which is within the range used for embalming in funeral homes. The FDA's own tests found high levels of methylene glycol present in the Brazilian Blowout hair treatment, which releases formaldehyde when exposed to heat from a blow dryer or flat iron. After three years of no action despite the injuries and the evidence, the FDA finally issued a warning letter to GIB. The letter states that the product is adulterated with a known human carcinogen.

It is definitely good news that the FDA has finally warned GIB. However, that fact that a hair treatment, with levels of formaldehyde equivalent to those used in the morgue, is able to line the shelves of salons for three years is a clear evidence that the cosmetics regulatory system is broken.

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