A groundbreaking settlement between California’s Attorney General and manufacturers of Brazilian Blowout hair smoothing products that reportedly contains a cancer-causing chemical will help protect salon workers and consumers, according to the California Department of Public Health’s Occupational Health Branch.
The settlement with the manufacturer of Brazilian Blowout products requires the company to warn consumers and hair stylists that two of its hair smoothing products emit formaldehyde gas, which is known to cause cancer in humans. The company must also cease deceptive advertising; pay $600,000 in fees, penalties and costs; and report the presence of formaldehyde in its products to California Safe Cosmetics Program (CSCP) (http://www.cdph.ca.gov/programs/cosmetics/Pages/default.aspx). The warning requirements are the maximum penalty that could be achieved under state law.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) had issued a Hazard Alert in the past few years for hair smoothing products that could release formaldehyde. Concern surfaced when a stylist reported having nosebleeds, eye irritation, and trouble breathing while using hair smoothing products which are labeled “formaldehyde-free.” Difficulty breathing, nosebleeds, and eye irritation are the symptoms being reported by hairdressers across the country after giving clients hair smoothing. The popular hair treatments has had incredible success in the past couple years, promising straight and manageable hair for up to twelve weeks.
According to OSHA, Federal OSHA and State OSHA programs are investigating complaints from stylists and hair salon owners about exposure to formaldehyde Brazilian Blowout products and other hair smoothing products. OSHA has found formaldehyde in the air when stylists use hair smoothing products. According to OSHA some had "formaldehyde-free" on the label or did not list formaldehyde on the product label or in the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS).
What is formaldehyde and how can it affect my health?
Formaldehyde is a colorless, strong-smelling gas that presents a health hazard if workers are exposed. You can be exposed to formaldehyde if you breathe it into your lungs, if it gets into your eyes, or if it is contained in a product that gets onto your skin. You can also be exposed accidentally if you touch your face, eat food, or drink after using a product containing formaldehyde without first washing your hands. It can irritate the eyes and nose, and cause coughing and wheezing. Formaldehyde is a "sensitizer," which means that it can cause allergic reactions of the skin, eyes, and lungs such as asthma-like breathing problems and skin rashes and itching. When formaldehyde is in a product that gets sprayed into the eyes, it can damage the eyes and cause blindness.
An inexpensive screening device to monitor for formaldehyde in the workplace is the Formaldehyde Screen Check (FCS) manufactured by Building Health Check, LLC and available at Grainger’s, Sears, Carrier/Bryant dealers, on-line dealers or at http://www.indoorairtest.comor call 1-800-422-78783 ext. 404.
Building Health Check sets the industry standard for IAQ DIY kits, testing equipment, and laboratory analysis. For more information on Building Health Check, LLC contact us at ext. 404 or 804 or visit http://www.indoorairtest.com
About our Affiliate Laboratory, EDLab
The Environmental Diagnostics Laboratory (EDLab) (established in 1992) at Pure Air Control Services (PACS) is an AIHA accredited environmental lab offering complete and comprehensive indoor environmental microbiology laboratory services. They include: microbiology, aerobiology, chemistry, allergen assays and microscopy designed to meet all your indoor air needs. EDLab supports IAQ investigations by assisting with strategic sampling plan development and supplying media collection equipment while performing a wide range of environmental analyses. Contact EDLab at www.EDLab.org or toll free 1-800-422-7873 ext 301.
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