Brazilian Blowout, a popular hair straightening solution, has recently become a subject of increasing criticism. The inclusion of formaldehyde, in particular, has been linked to adverse health complications in those exposed to it. Otherwise known as a carcinogen, formaldehyde has been associated with the development of nose and throat cancers, leukemia, respiratory problems and other health effects. Of significant concern, however, is a distinct lack of federal and state authority regarding the distribution of potentially dangerous cosmetic products. Federal law may not provide consumers with the protection they need, as it currently dictates that cosmetic companies are not required to disclose chemicals or gain approval of their products.
Through the use of a Brazilian Super Nutrient Complex and a proprietary polymer system, Brazilian Blowout improves the condition of hair by creating a protective protein layer around the hair shaft to eliminate frizz and smooth the cuticle. Salons across the United States are already acknowledging that Brazilian Blowout treatment is the next generation in salon care techniques.
Unfortunately, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) conducted an investigation which revealed that Brazilian Blowout contains methylene glycol, a liquid variation of formaldehyde, which, when introduced to a heat source such as a blow dryer or hot iron, releases formaldehyde. Methylene glycol is a deleterious substance, which at the levels present in Brazilian Blowout, may harm users under the conditions of use prescribed in the labeling.
The primary route of exposure to formaldehyde, when using Brazilian Blowout under the conditions of use prescribed in the labeling, is through inhalation. Exposure to heat creates formaldehyde vapor that may expose both consumers and salon workers that are preforming the treatment. Those exposed to formaldehyde for a prolonged period of time may be at risk of developing nose and throat cancers, leukemia, respiratory problems and other health effects.
Complications such as these serve as a prime example as to how little authority federal and state governments have over the cosmetics industry. Under federal law, cosmetics companies are not required to disclose chemicals or gain approval for the thousands of products that go on sale every year. Furthermore, the process in which even dangerous products are to be removed from the U.S. market is extensive and time consuming. “Although the sale of Brazilian Blowout in California violated five separate state health, environmental and consumer laws and resulted in numerous acute injuries, we have not been able to get it off the market,” said Michael DiBartolomeis of the California Department of Public Health.
Complicating the already volatile situation, are thousands of stylists and hair care professionals that are currently petitioning to remove the dangerous product from store shelves. Among them, is Natalija Josimov, who acknowledged that she “thought this wouldn’t be on the market if it was dangerous. I [she] really didn’t understand there was no protection,”
Despite a series of federal and state efforts in recent months to get rid of the product, it remains in salons across the country. Accordingly, the FDA has yet to prohibit it, and, without the federal government’s lead, no state will be able to remove it from the market with ease.
However, according to DiBartolomeis, Brazilian Blowout should never have been permitted on the market in the first place. “Cosmetic products that contain known human carcinogens or chemicals that impair human reproduction or development are marketed and sold without adequate safety tests because the existing law allows it,” he said. In Brazilian Blowout, he said, “the levels of formaldehyde exceeded levels that would be of concern for causing cancers and short-term effects” such as burning nose and throat, hair loss, asthma attacks and skin blisters. “Although the sale of Brazilian Blowout in California violated five separate state health, environmental and consumer laws and resulted in numerous acute injuries, we have not been able to get it off the market,” DiBartolomeis said.
The FDA sent a violation letter to GIB about Brazilian Blowout’s Acai Professional Smoothing Solution in 2011 after it found methylene glycol, the liquid form of formaldehyde, in samples at concentrations ranging from 8.7 to 10.4 percent. Saying the product could cause eye, respiratory tract and nervous system disorders, FDA officials told GIB to ensure the product was safe or they would pursue an injunction in federal court and seize the product. However, a year later, the agency has taken no further action against the company, although there is no evidence that the formulation is safe.
FDA spokeswoman Tamara Ward said the agency is still investigating Brazilian Blowout but she couldn’t comment because it is “an open case under review.”
Do I Have a Brazilian Blowout Lawsuit?
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