Brazilian Blowout Formaldehyde Worries Prompt Precautions

Some hair salons are starting to take precautions against possible <"">formaldehyde in hair straightening products like the Brazilian Blowout, according to an article in The New York Times. Concerns that the popular hair relaxers, known generically as Brazilian or Keratin treatments, could expose hair stylists to health risks have prompted the precautions.

The Brazilian Blowout and similar products are pricey salon treatments that promise to leave hair “frizz-free, shiny, effortlessly manageable and with plenty of body and bounce.” Results are said to last up to 12 weeks. According to its Website, the Brazilian Blowout “smoothes the hair through the use of a proprietary polymer system that bonds amino acids to the surface of the hair.” The site claims that the treatment is “100% salon safe.” Salon patrons love products like the Brazilian Blowout, and some salon operators told the Times that the relaxers have become one of the most popular treatments in years.

Last month, health officials in Oregon issued an alert to hair salons there after workers at one Oregon salon complained that they had suffered eye irritation, nose bleeds and difficulty breathing after they used the Brazilian Blowout. At the time, the Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services, Occupational Safety and Health Division (Oregon OSHA) said it had found significant levels of formaldehyde in the hair-smoothing solution sold under the name Brazilian Blowout.

Last Friday, it broadened the alert, telling salons that use hair-smoothing treatments, particularly those referred to as “Keratin-based,” to take necessary precautions outlined in its formaldehyde rule. The US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) is now investigating the hair products.

According to the Times article, salons around the country have responded in various ways to the concerns. For example, the John Barrett Salon at Bergdorf Goodman in New York, decided to ban the brand Brazilian Blowout, but continues to use products from other companies. At some salons, hair dressers wear rubber gloves and a respirator when applying the solution, and offer respirators to their clients. The Neil George Salon in Beverly Hills, Calif., added a cabana with open sides and a fabric roof to isolate the process from the salon itself.

For its part, the company that makes Brazilian Blowout products – also called Brazilian Blowout – first insisted that none of its products contained formaldehyde. But according to the Times, in response to the most recent reports, it now says the Oregon tests showed that formaldehyde exposure from Brazilian Blowout was “safely below” permissible levels.

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