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Congressmen to FDA: Don’t “Blow Off” Brazilian Blowout

Congressmen to FDA: Don’t “Blow Off” Brazilian Blowout

December 14, 2012 — Several Congressional Representatives have sent a letter to the director of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to request further action regarding Brazilian Blowout, a hair-straightening product that contains high amounts of formaldehyde, a cancer-causing chemical. The representatives, Edward Market (D-Mass.), Earl Blumenthal (D-Oregon), and Jan Schakowsky (D-Illinois), are calling for a recall of the product and an official investigation into formaldehyde in cosmetics.

The problem with Brazilian Blowout is that it contains methylene glycol, which is the liquid form of formaldehyde. Salon workers apply the product to a customer’s hair, and then use heat, blow driers, and flat-irons to straighten very curly hair. The treatment lasts for 10-12 weeks.

Unfortunately, the products were initially labeled as “formaldehyde-free.” The ingredient was only discovered after Oregon OSHA investigators tested the products and found extremely high levels of formaldehyde — especially in Brazilian Blowout Acai Professional Smoothing Solution. Many salon workers and customers reported suffering nose bleeds, breathing problems, vomiting, and hair loss.

After formaldehyde was discovered in the product in 2011, the Representatives asked the FDA to intervene. In August 2011, the FDA sent a Warning Letter to the manufacturer of Brazilian Blowout, warning that the product was misbranded in violation of the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.

Brazilian Blowout has done little to address the safety concerns. Formaldehyde is still an ingredient in the product. They have even come out with a new product, Zero+ Solution, which they claim does not release formaldehyde. The company has also sent letters to salons to reassure them about the safety of their products.

Representative Markey has asked the FDA not to “blow off” these complaints. He said, “The FDA should immediately take action to stop the sale of these potentially carcinogenic hair straightening products and continue to evaluate whether to ban formaldehyde from hair straighteners altogether.”

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