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Thursday, May 19, 2011

NY State Issues Health Alert for Hair Straightening Products and Formaldehyde

The Department of Health of the State of New York has issued a health alert advisory to workers and consumers about a group of hair straightening products known as "Brazilian Keratin Treatment" (BKT) that may contain formaldehyde

The warning advises those exposed that:
  • Exposure to formaldehyde can cause irritation of the eyes, nose, throat, and skin.
  • People with asthma or other respiratory diseases may be more sensitive than others to the effects of breathing formaldehyde.
  • Formaldehyde is classified as a probable human carcinogen (cancer-causing chemical).
  • The Department tested some products, and cautions that others in the market may also contain also formaldehyde. 
A list of 22 products containing formaldehyde include:
  1. BioIonic Kera Smooth Anti Frizz
  2. Brazilian Blowout Solution
  3. Brazilian Blowout Acai Professional Smoothing solution
  4. Brazilian Gloss Keratin Smoothing Gloss
  5. Cadiveu Brazilian Thermal Reconstruction
  6. Coppola Keratin Complex Smoothing Therapy, Natural Keratin Smoothing Treatment
  7. Coppola Keratin Complex Smoothing Therapy, Natural Keratin Smoothing Treatment, Light Wave
  8. Coppola Keratin Express Brazilian Smoothing Treatment
  9. Coppola Keratin Complex Smoothing Therapy
  10. Global Keratin Functional Keratin Hair Taming System Light Wave Chocolate
  11. Global Keratin Taming System Strawberry
  12. Global Keratin Taming System with Juvexin Strawberry Resistant
  13. Global Keratin Taming System with Juvexin Strawberry Light Wave
  14. IBS Beauty IStraight Keratin Advanced Keratin Treatment
  15. JKS International Smoothing Treatment
  16. Kera Green Keratin and Protein Hair
  17. Marcia Teixeira Advanced Brazilian Keratin Treatment
  18. Marcia Teixeira Brazilian Keratin Treatment
  19. Marcia Teixeira Chocolate, extreme de-frizzing treatment
  20. Pravana Naturceuticals Keratin Fusion
  21. Pro-Collagen RX Keratin Treatment
  22. QOD GOLD Solution
Oregon OSHA (health and safety program), Health Canada and the European Directorate-General of Health and Consumer Affairs did the testing and found formaldehyde in each of the products they tested. They also conducted air tests during application of one of the products in two salons and found that formaldehyde had been released into the air.

The New York State Department of Health is monitoring the situation and they are in contact with other states about their experiences with these products. Through this fact sheet, they are taking the precautionary step of alerting salon workers and consumers about the hazards. At this time, they know that 51 companies market a total of 156 products. Over 100 of those are widely distributed in New York. This year alone, seven new products have come on the market. At this time they have no reliable way, at this time, to know which ones contain formaldehyde. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), responsible for regulating cosmetic products, is gathering reports from consumers and salon professionals about eye irritation, breathing problems and headaches.

Many other agencies have issued health alerts and taken action. The Oregon Department of Consumer Business Services and the Connecticut Department of Public Health issued alerts on the release of formaldehyde from these products. The Attorney General of the State of California filed a lawsuit against a California-based manufacturer of one of these products (Brazilian Blowout's Acai Professional Smoothing Solution) alleging that the manufacturer failed to warn users about the presence of formaldehyde, as required by California regulations. Health Canada issued an advisory about the release of formaldehyde from the Brazilian Blowout product. Health Canada also received complaints of burning eyes, nose and throat, breathing difficulties and a report of hair loss. The European Directorate-General of Health and Consumer Affairs banned the sale of some products and recalled others.

New York State advises that the following action should be taken if a consumer or professional is concerned about these products: First, consider not having your hair treated with the products.

  • Seek medical attention, if you are experiencing health problems.
  • Consumers and salon professionals are urged to report adverse experiences to FDA in either of the following ways:
  • Report to the nearest FDA district office. The phone number for the New York State Complaint Coordinator is (866) 446-9055.
  • Report online to FDA's MedWatch adverse event reporting system. You also may call Medwatch at (800) 332-1088 to request a reporting form by mail.
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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