Health Canada publishes latest formaldehyde product warning

By Andrew McDougall

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Brazil

Health Canada (HC) has announced results of its testing for formaldehyde in hair smoothing treatments, and named five products that it has judged to contain unsafe levels of formaldehyde.

The Canadian health authority has also provided the names of the products that contain unacceptable levels of formaldehyde based on data submitted, and although not tested by Health Canada, they are not permitted for sale in the country.


Levels still a long way off safe

Formaldehyde is permitted as a preservative in cosmetics at levels of no more than 0.2 percent, however HC tests have revealed that Moroccan Hair Treatment by Inoar contains 2.84 percent formaldehyde.

Keratin Complex Express Blowout by Copomon contains unsafe levels of 1.70 percent, whilst Keratin Connection’s Royal Keratin Professional Line was tested at 1.54 percent.

The final two named in the list of tested products that concluded in March this year are Zero (0.76 percent) and Veloce (0.35 percent), both by La Brasiliana.

Three more La Brasiliana products (Original, Domani and Spruzzi) were also named in HC’s not tested list, joined by two by M&M International (Marcia Teixeira Brazil Keratin Treatment and Chocolate De-Frizzing Treatment), and also Pro Skin Solutions’ Brazilian Keratin Treatment.

Formaldehyde is a known irritant and is linked to cancer in humans when inhaled chronically over a long period of time. Health Canada believes that the reactions are being caused by formaldehyde becoming vaporized during the blow drying and flat ironing stages of the treatment.

Salon professionals at the biggest risk

There are fears over the risks to consumers, but more so to the salon professionals who may be exposed to several treatments throughout the day.

Health Canada is working with the Canadian distributors to address concerns regarding professional hair smoothing solutions, and to stop sale of the products listed above at all levels of trade.

It has been hot on the formaldehyde trail since fall last year, following investigations into the Brazilian Blowout smoothing treatment which was shown to contain 12 percent formaldehyde.

This was followed up in December 2011 with another advisory warning of ten more keratin straightening treatments that contained unsafe levels of formaldehyde.

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