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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Dangerous Formaldehyde Based Hair Straighteners Reportedly in Widespread Use

A recent report published by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) reports, that formaldehyde based hair straighteners, used in many hair salons, are health hazards.  The products are allegedly being used without disclosure of the potential health dangers of human exposure. Formaldehyde is a known carcinogen, a cancer causing agent, as well as an allergen.


EWR reports:

"For the past four years, some celebrities and fashionistas with $250 to $600 to drop at a hair salon have raved about “Brazilian-style keratin” hair straighteners purported to transform frizzy, unmanageable hair into flat, silky-smooth locks.

"In fact, those chemical concoctions are loaded with formaldehyde, which numerous prestigious health bodies, most recently, a National Academy of Sciences panel, have labeled a human carcinogen. Formaldehyde is also a potent allergen. It is especially hazardous when it reverts to its natural state, a gas, and is inhaled. Formaldehyde-based hair straighteners present a particular danger to salon workers who apply blow driers and 450-degree flatirons to chemical-coated hair.

"Some salon clients and personnel have suffered severe allergic reactions, massive hair loss, neck and face rashes, blistered scalps and other serious health problems, according to an Environmental Working Group review of 47 previously unpublished “adverse event” reports filed with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.


"EWG’s comprehensive survey of 45 manufacturers of hair-straightening products has found that: 
15 of 16 companies claim little to no formaldehyde but tests show their products contain substantial amounts – These include Brazilian Blowout, Cadiveu and other top brands. The hair straightener company Goleshlee admits on its website that its product contains formaldehyde but omits the toxic chemical from its online ingredient list.
Fumes in salon air – Tests of salon air conducted in 2010 found powerful formaldehyde fumes. Other tests have found that hair straighteners contain up to 11.8 percent formaldehyde. When vapors reach significant levels, and when products contain a formaldehyde solution of more than 1 percent, federal law requires salons to provide medical monitoring for workers with symptoms, quick-drench showers for immediate use if solution touches skin and emergency eyewash stations. 
Most top salons deny risks – Only three of Elle magazine’s 41 top-rated salons surveyed by EWG do not offer hair-straightening services because of health dangers. Nine salons claimed they used products free or nearly free of toxic chemicals. Yet test results compiled by EWG show the products are laden with formaldehyde. The salons’ claims usually echoed the manufacturers’ own misstatements about the chemistry and safety of the products. Among salons offering formaldehyde hair straighteners are the Andy Lecompte salon in Los Angeles, Whittenmore House Salon in New York and Metodo Rossano Ferretti Hair and Spa in Miami."

Recently the US Occupational and Health Administration issued a "Hazard Alert" to salon workers and owners over the dangers of the us of hair straighteners. The EWG has petitioned the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to also take action citing allegedly hazardous products. The exhibit accompanying the petition reviews multiple products including:


The EWR reports on the following products:
  • R and L Soft-Liss Professional Line 
  • KeraGreen Keratin and Protein Hair System by LBD 
  • Tahe Thermo Keratin Hair Treatment
  • Silkening Technologies Pro Collagen Rx Keratin Treatment
  • Brazilian Gloss Brazilian Keratin Treatment
  • Keratin Express Formula
  • Marcia Teixeira Brazilian Keratin Treatment
  • IBS i-Straight System
  • Coppola Keratin Keratin Complex Smoothing Therapy
  • Brazilian Blowout A├žai Professional Smoothing (“Original”) Solution
  • Cadiveu Brazilian Keratin Smoothing Formula
  • Global Keratin (“GKHair”) Products
  • QOD

Since the FDA does not have the authority to issue a recall, EWR recommends, among other safety issues that need to addressed, that companies voluntarily recall their hair straightening products.

For over 3 decades the Law Offices of Jon L. Gelman  1.973.696.7900  jon@gelmans.com have been representing injured workers and their families who have suffered work related accidents and injuries.
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