Brazilian Hair Blowouts & Formaldehyde

When Portland area salon workers contacted them complaining of eye irritation, nose bleeds and difficulty breathing after using Brazilian Blowout's solution, Dede Montgomery and her colleagues at OHSU investigated.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

On a trip to the salon, our health and safety is usually the last thing on our minds. What could be wrong with a simple blowout? Especially one that's claims to be natural and uses keratin-based ingredients to help keep the hair straight.  Brazilian Blowout has become on of the more popular choices for straightening at salons. With claims that there's no damage, no harsh chemicals and no formaldehyde who wouldn't want smooth straight hair?

DeDeRecently Portland area salon workers complained of eye irritation, nose bleeds and difficulty breathing after using Brazilian Blowout's solution. Dede Montgomery, an Occupational Safety and Health Specialist at the Center for Research in Occupational and Environmental Toxicology (CROET) at Oregon Health & Science University (OSHU) and a NWCOHS External Advisory Board member, and her colleagues began investigating the matter.

Tests showed that the solution labeled “no formaldehyde” contained more than .1% which is required to be listed on the MSDS. Upon further testing with the assistance of Oregon OSHA, the OSHA lab analyzed the sample using five different test methods, each of which concluded that formaldehyde was present above regulated levels around 8.5%.

Due to the lack of information available to the stylists and the company's prominent "formaldehyde free" marketing, CROET has posted a warning on their site and Oregon OSHA has issued a case study on air sampling in salons during the use of the solution. Brazilian Blowout continues to back their product and claims that their product is safe.

If you are thinking of getting this process done, consider the health risks for you and your salon worker.

For more information:

OSHA's case study and press release

CROET has now become part of the larger Oregon Institute of Occupational Health Sciences at OHSU. View their updated website for more information about this topic.