Hair Straighteners

Hair Straighteners

In the fall of 2010 the public was made aware, in Canada, Australia, and Ireland, that the common salon product, Brazilian Blowout, used to straighten hair, had dangerous levels of formaldehyde. These products have been found to have up to 12% formaldehyde in them and even products labelled “formaldehyde free” and “zero formaldehyde” were found to have formaldehyde in them.

The Environmental Working Group has tested a large number of hair straightening products and have found levels of formaldehyde.

What is Formaldehyde: A colourless, flammable, strong smelling chemical used in building materials and household products. An industrial fungicide, germicide, and releases dangerous gases with heat.

Dangers of Formaldehyde:

  • Increased risk of cancer. A known human carcinogen.
  • Dangerous pollutant, an off-gas, in the heating treatment of straightening hair
  • Irritates the eyes, nose, throat
  • Long term exposure to salon workers increased risk of cancer
  • It’s the same off-gas from FEMA trailers that were making people sick after Hurricane Katrina
  • Salon workers have reported: difficulty breathing, nose bleeds, stinging eyes
  • Customers have reported hair loss after treatment

Check out the list of hair straighteners that have been tested for and included formaldehyde: Flat Out Risky

Brazilian Blowout has since released three new products claiming they are formaldehyde free. Medical institutions have tested these products and all have had levels of formaldehyde still. Check out the chart of results, scroll down on this page: About the Brand.

Many advocacy groups have been on top of this and finally as of January 2012 the manufacturers of Brazilian Blowout have been sanctioned to put caution stickers on their products and have been forced to cease their false deceptive advertising practices! (California) This is the first settlement enforced by the U.S. government addressing formaldehyde exposures with these products (The first injunction filed against them was in 2005 by California’s Attorney General’s Office).

Read my first post on Brazilian Blowout and harmful affects of formaldehyde.