BRAZILIAN BLOWOUT DANGER: Does Flat Equal Formaldehyde?

  • by Corrie Shenigo
  • posted at 9:03 pm
  • October 13, 2010

Brazilian Blowout Smooth-As-Silk Results

As one of the masses of women who’ve gushed about the smooth-as-silk results of the Brazilian Blowout, I gave a little *sob* when I read the recent news.  The Brazilian Blowout (and other keratin based straightening treatments) is under intense scrutiny by Canadian and US health agencies for the companies refuted claim that it contains “no formaldehyde”.

But is that the truth?  Reports as early as 2007 have suggested that these treatments contain dangerously high amounts of formaldehyde.  Add to that US and Canadian salon workers and clients complaining of eye irritation, nose burning, and difficulty breathing – yep… Houston… uh Brazil… we have a problem.

Formaldehyde, for those of you still in denial, is a known carcinogen and also causes breathing and skin problems – so, that’s bad.  The Cosmetic Ingredient Review Expert Panel, who’s in charge of monitoring cosmetic safety, says that a product should contain less than 0.2% formaldehyde to be considered safe – so where does the Brazilian measure up?

The numbers vary – but, it doesn’t look good for the BB.  Health Canada, a government-based agency found a whopping 12% formaldehyde in their testing, and the Oregon Health & Science University’s Center for Research on Occupational and Environmental Toxicology tested the formula and found between 4.85 and 10.6% formaldehyde.  So let’s do the math: at it’s highest levels that’s 60 times the acceptable amount of formaldehyde – doesn’t exactly make a gal feel special, does it?

The company behind the Brazilian Blowout is arguing semantics, including it’s October 8th response to the OSHA’s test results, calling the organization’s testing methods faulty because it measured methylene glycol, not formaldehyde.  Ahem.  While I’m no scientific genius – isn’t methylene glycol another name for… formaldehyde?  Why yes.  Yes it is.

As the debate rages on, and the FDA has yet to make a statement, some salons have voluntarily removed the product (Health Canada actually issued a statement on October 7 recommending that ALL Canadian Salons stop offering the treatment), while others continue to offer up this frizz-removing wunderkind treatment to it’s devoted followers.

So where do you fall?  Is a head full of smooth, shiny, frizz-free hair worth it?  Let us know.

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