Cancer concerns over Brazilian Blowout, the latest and popular hair fad, seems to have reached its peak with stylists increasingly complaining of the product even as authorities investigate into the components of the hair straightening and smoothing formula.
The hair treatment, which first emerged in 2005 in Brazil, spread to North America and Europe over the years. With several celebrities endorsing it, the Brazilian Blowout quickly turned into a must-have. Besides the huge glamor quotient that smooth and straight hair holds, the treatment came as a savior for those who struggle to manage curly and frizzy hair while juggling careers and household responsibilities. All it took was $300 and 90 minutes to transform curly locks to sleek straight strands.
But troubles surfaced on the Brazilian hair paradise when stylists as well as costumers began experiencing health issues, ranging from eye irritation to breathing problems and nose bleeds.
At the end of 2010, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) stepped in to look into the matter. In October 2010, OSHA said Brazilian Blowout contains formaldehyde, a chemical compound that can cause all of the symptoms mentioned above. Formaldehyde has been classified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as a probable carcinogen. In November 2010, however, OSHA said that Formaldehyde exposure levels well beneath the Action Level, Permissible Exposure Level, and Short-Term Exposure Level based on results of a comprehensive air monitoring study conducted across seven salons.
Retaliating against the damage OSHA's intervention has done to the Brazilian Blowout's credibility, GIB, the company which operates as Brazilian Blowout, filed a lawsuit against OSHA in December 2010. This move came after the health and safety agency - wrongfully claiming to have measured high levels of formaldehyde in product - issued alerts. GIB accused the agency of reporting false and misleading test results about its hair smoothing treatment. At the same time, Brazilian Blowout was facing class-action suits from bodies in California and Canada.
While Canadian authorities have issued a warning about possible health hazards and France has pulled products with high levels of formaldehyde, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) stepped into the matter to investigate into a series of complaints from salons and customers.
Although FDA does not have authority over the operation of salons, we do have certain authority over hair straighteners and similar cosmetic products, the FDA clarifies on its website.
As the investigations and legal processes continue, the manufacturer in question recently responded to the row in a statement to a media outlet, We stand behind the integrity of our product, and affirm that our professional solution is indeed formaldehyde-free.