Straightening Product Popular in California Could Be Toxic

The percentages of formaldehyde, a chemical that can cause skin redness and irritation of the nose and eyes, was high enough in some packages of Brazilian Blowout that it would have been best suited for those with hazardous material training, according to a recent Channel 33 report:

“These values are high … too high,” says Dr. Wilma F. Bergfeld, chairwoman of the Cosmetic Ingredient Review panel and co-director of dermatopathology at the Cleveland Clinic. “CIR has limited the concentration of free formaldehyde in cosmetics to less than two-tenths of 1% in topical products. CIR would not consider a product with those reported formaldehyde levels to be safe.” “I was surprised by the results,” says [another researcher], adding that if a product used in a workplace contains more than just 0.1% formaldehyde, Oregon OSHA has strict usage, employee education and disclosure requirements.

But the popular product has received celebrity endorsements and is still under investigation by the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health, as well as other state agencies. The product has received notoriety for its ability to reduce frizzy or curly hair for up to several months at a time, and the application process can cost hundreds of dollars. Stylists and customers are both being warned to be cautious about the potential harmless effects of excess formaldehyde and be mindful that ventilation systems at salons don’t protect California salon patrons from potential injuries or long-term health effects.

[Image: Wendy’s Hair Perfection via Picasa]