Hair-Straightening Product Maker Admits It Contains Formaldehyde

On behalf of Brown & Crouppen, P.C. posted in Defective Products on Tuesday, February 7, 2012

After spending nearly a year and a half denying that its pricy hair-straightening product Brazilian Blowout contained potentially dangerous amounts of formaldehyde, GIB LLC has admitted the truth about the product’s formula. The company announced an agreement to put a warning label on bottles of Brazilian Blowout. The warning will inform users that the hair straightener can release enough formaldehyde to irritate skin and eyes, and potentially lead to cancer.

Readers in St. Louis, Missouri, may have heard of Brazilian Blowout. The product, which can cost up to $500 per session, is supposed keep curly hair straight for several months. It is supposed to have become popular among Hollywood celebrities.

Concerns about Brazilian Blowout were first raised in September 2010, when complaints by hair stylists led to an academic report criticizing the formula. The Food and Drug Administration has warning the public about the health hazards contained in the treatments since at least April 2011, when it and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued a warning about the amount of formaldehyde contained in Brazilian Blowout’s formula. The product contains between 8.7 percent and 10.4 percent formaldehyde, the FDA found. OSHA considers formaldehyde levels above 0.1 percent an occupational hazard. Formaldehyde is a carcinogen, meaning exposure can cause cancer.

The CEO of GIB denied that Brazilian Blowout contained any formaldehyde, but in August 2011 the FDA sent the company a letter detailing a series of injuries and illnesses suffered by salon workers and clients with the product. They included chest pain, vomiting, eye irritation, blurred vision, headaches and coughing. The letter ordered GIB to take action or face legal action.

Besides the warning label, GIB will also pay $600,000 in penalties and provide product safety information to salons.
Source: Miami Herald, “Brazilian Blowout hair treatment ruled carcinogenic,” John Platt, Feb. 6, 2012

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