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33 recalled 'toxic' hair straighteners found to still be on U.S markets

By Michelle Yeomans+

20-Mar-2014
Last updated the 20-Mar-2014 at 15:42 GMT

New research has revealed thirty-three hair-straightening products containing high levels of formaldehyde to still be on US markets, according to the Women’s Voices for the Earth.

The non-profit is asking why there seems to be a "double standard" in the US as several of these products have been banned in other countries.

The brands include the BioNaza Brazilian Blowout, Global Keratin, IBS Beauty, KeraStraight and Royal Keratin Professional Line by Keratin Connection.

Based on sound science, other countries are taking strong measures to protect the health of salon workers and their customers from formaldehyde-containing products,” says Alex Scranton, director of science & research at WVE.

"Yet, none of these products containing formaldehyde have been removed from the market in the US," he adds.

Formaldehyde changes the chemistry of hair, allowing hair that has been flat-ironed to stay straight for longer periods of time.

Regulatory stance on the issue

Back in March 2011, the Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR), an industry-funded and operated panel that assesses the safety of cosmetic ingredients in the United States, declared that formaldehyde was unsafe to be used in hair straightening products.

However; Voices of the Earth reckons none of these products have been removed from the market as a result of this announcement.

"The US Food and Drug Administration has yet to bar formaldehyde from hair straighteners, even though the US Department of Health and Human Safety have labelled it a known human carcinogen, and it is unclear how this latest announcement will affect the FDA’s decision-making on a possible ban."

The original formula of Brazilian Blowout was ordered off the market in California by the CA Attorney General in 2012 for violating California air pollution regulations after the products were found to contain up to 12% formaldehyde, even though the products were labeled 'formaldehyde-free'.

"The FDA lacks the authority to issue a mandatory recall of cosmetic products. In fact, the agency has yet to issue a voluntary recall of Brazilian Blowout, the first hair straightener found to contain high levels of formaldehyde," states Scranton.

Thus, WVE is calling on the FDA to change its policies and issue a voluntary recall of Brazilian Blowout in the U.S.

To date, six countries, Australia, Ireland, Canada, France, Germany and Cyprus, have taken steps to stop distribution of Brazilian Blowout products.

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