March 9, 2012

Brazilian Blowout Reaches Settlement Agreement

It looks like this saga, which has been going on since 2009, may be over. GIB, the manufacturer that produces the Brazilian Blowout has agreed to pay $4.5 million to settle a class action lawsuit. In 2011, the FDA issued a warning letter to GIB regarding health complaints and mislabeling of the product. While GIB labelled the product "formaldehyde free," it actually emitted about 9% formaldehyde.

I shared some background on this story last year, but I'll recap for you. Independent scientific studies have found that the Brazilian Blowout produces comparable amounts of formaldehyde as funeral home embalming. 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, as well as nose and lung cancer.

GIB is not required to reformulate as a part of the settlement. Instead, they can no longer label their product as "formadehyde free" and must inform patrons of the safety hazards.

Michael Brady, the CEO of Brazilian Blowout, said that the settlement would merely be paid for by his insurance company. With regard to the settlement, he said “we get to sell the product forever without reformulation. In my eyes, that’s the acquittal we’ve been waiting for."

He has a point. Formaldehyde is considered a known human carcinogen by the federal government. Stacy Malkan, the co-founder of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics commented "this scandal is the perfect example of how cosmetic regulations are totally failing to protect public health, even in the case of obvious and proven dangers."

What do you think? Should the FDA step in and protect public health? Or allow freedom of choice?

You know what I think? The message here is: love your curly hair, ladies!

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Image courtesy of: 
1. Getty Images

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