It looks like the Brazilian Blowout saga that’s played out for the last year has come to a conclusion, at least for now–and not everyone’s happy about it.
To review: After salon stylists complained about respiratory symptoms ostensibly related to hair straightening treatments, OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) started investigating the Brazilian Blowout brand of salon hair straightening products. Despite the company’s claims to the contrary, the products were found to contain high levels of formaldehyde (a known carcinogen), which wasn’t disclosed on the packaging. The FDA got involved and issued ultimatums to the company about decreasing formaldehyde and putting proper labels on the bottles. In the meantime, industry groups like the National Healthy Nail and Beauty Salon Alliance have been lobbying for a complete ban on the products.
And now the verdict is in. According to WWD, the California Attorney General has ordered Brazilian Blowout to put hazard warnings on its packaging, distribute cancer risk materials to salons, and change information on its website accordingly. BB also has to cough up $600,000 in fees and penalties. The California Attorney General, Kamala Harris, told WWD, “This settlement requires the company to disclose any hazard so that Californians can make more informed decisions.” Brazilian Blowout’s CEO seemed pleased, saying, “We believe the settlement reached with Attorney General Harris represents a fair and equitable resolution. Brazilian Blowout will continue to sell its products normally throughout the state of California. The labeling and market and advertising changes agreed to in the settlement have already been in place for months.” So basically, nothing much is changing.
And safety watchdog groups aren’t happy. A rep from the National Healthy Nail and Beauty Salon Alliance said in a release:
“Obviously, these violations have not been addressed sufficiently. The California Attorney General’s settlement makes it clear that Brazilian Blowout has been selling products containing hazardous substances and marketing them as safe. The FDA must take action today to protect salon workers who are being exposed to dangerous levels of formaldehyde every day.”
Basically they won’t rest until there’s a complete ban on these products in the US (many countries banned formaldehyde-containing hair products a year ago or more). One of our editors here at Fashionista just had her hair straightened at a salon–she had to wear a paper surgical mask and the stylists at the salon wore heavy-duty filtered masks and used fans to defuse the fumes.
What do you think? Just to play devil’s advocate here, there are lots of dangerous things that are used for the purposes of beauty–Botox comes to mind. Is it enough to be warned, or should formaldehyde be completely banned?