December 14, 2012 — Several members of Congress are asking the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) not to “blow off” an investigation of Brazilian Blowout, a hair-straightening product that contains formaldehyde, a known carcinogen. Representative Edward Markey (D-Mass.), Jan Schakowsky (D-Illinois), and Earl Blumenthal (D-Oregon) have asked the FDA to protect salon workers and consumers by recalling the product. Many people have reported suffering nose bleeds, breathing problems, vomiting, and hair loss associated with the product.
Brazilian Blowout contains methylene glycol, a liquid form of formaldehyde. The product is applied to curly hair, and then a salon process involving heat, blow driers, and flat-ironing, which straightens curly hair. The effects last for up to 12 weeks.
Unfortunately, after numerous people complained about side effects from the product, an independent investigation from Oregon OSHA found extremely high levels of formaldehyde in the product. The highest amount of formaldehyde was found in the Brazilian Blowout Acai Professional Smoothing Solution, which was labeled “formaldehyde-free.”
The Representatives first contacted the FDA in 2011 to request a recall of Brazilian Blowout. The also asked the FDA to investigate whether formaldehyde should be banned in salon products, given its known associations with cancer.
The FDA published a Warning Letter in August 2011 because Brazilian Blowout was labeled as formaldehyde-free, but actually contained the substance. The FDA warned that the product was illegally misbranded. Since that warning letter, Brazilian Blowout has not removed formaldehyde from their product.
Instead, the company created a new product called Zero+ Solution, which it claims does not release formaldehyde, and sent letters to salons to reassure them that their products were safe.
According to Representative Markey:
“The FDA should immediately take action to stop the sale of these potentially carcinogenic hair straightening products and continue to evaluate whether to ban formaldehyde from hair straighteners altogether.”
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