Brazilian Blowout defends formaldehyde levels in hair smoothing treatment

By Andrew McDougall

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Occupational safety and health, Osha

California-based hair care company Brazilian Blowout has defended its hair smoothing treatment, following a study by a university professor which appeared to show the product fell below Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) exposure limits for formaldehyde.

Professor James F. Haw from the University of Southern California performed air quality monitoring at two California salons using the Brazilian Blowout Acai Professional Smoothing Solution and claimed that the findings were consistent with OSHA testing.

Bold claims

“We are pleased with Dr. Haw’s findings,”​ said Brazilian Blowout CEO, Michael Brady, who also claimed the study provides evidence that the hair care firm’s products pose no risk of violating OSHA’s short-term (STEL) or long-term (LTEL) exposure limits.

However, during Federal OSHA investigations announced earlier this year, the safety and health administration stated that air tests showed formaldehyde at levels above OSHA's limits in salons using the Brazilian Blowout Acai Professional Smoothing Solution.

During Haw’s study, standard air monitoring pumps and aldehyde solid absorbent tubes were attached to the client and the stylist during various tasks as Haw measured the air quality before the treatment began, as the product was applied, during the course of blow drying and flat-ironing and after the process was complete.

Brazilian Blowout claims that at no point during the process did the air quality value exceed 0.160 parts per million for the STEL analysis, below OSHA’s STEL of 2 parts per million.

Welcome relief

The test results present the company in a positive light following a recent ChemRisk report which highlighted the Californian company amongst three others as incorrectly labeling the levels of formaldehyde found in the products.

The study on formaldehyde exposure in hair-smoothing products conducted earlier this year, published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene also tested the the Coppola, Global Keratin and La Brasiliana brands for formaldehyde content and exposure during use.

ChemRisk senior industrial hygienist, Jennifer Pierce, commented that the study highlights that companies that market these products need to properly reveal the contents of the goods they are selling and that further studies into potential exposures needs to be carried out.

Questions remain

"The study also points to the need for further research into potential health problems associated with the use of this hair treatment method, particularly those involving short-term exposure,"​ she said.

Responding at the time to the report, Brazilian Blowout issued a statement citing problems in the testing methods and reiterated that it has ensured levels are safe for both salon workers and consumers, saying:

“We have taken extensive measures to ensure the safety of our stylists and customers, performing numerous air monitoring tests in actual salon settings. Scientific testing has shown no indication of any exposure risk. We do not believe the study ChemRisk was retained to perform is valid, having used two ounces of product per application, four times the amount that is prescribed on the bottle.”

Related topics: Regulation & Safety

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