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The Green Life: Brazilian Blowout Under Investigation

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October 04, 2011

Brazilian Blowout Under Investigation

IStock_000012573499XSmallThe federal government is investigating at least two hair-straightening products alleged to release unsafe amounts of formaldehyde into the air. A hazard alert issued by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) explained that the agency is investigating certain items made by the Brazilian Blowout company. The FDA also sent the company a warning letter in August of this year, asserting that selling these products violates the laws against “adulterated cosmetics” and “misbranded” products.

Based on the FDA’s sample analysis, Brazilian Blowout products contain liquid formaldehyde (methylene glycol), which releases formaldehyde into the air when heated with a blow dryer or flat iron, as the label instructs to do. OSHA performed air tests in hair salons; the results revealed levels of formaldehyde above OSHA limits. Both OSHA and the FDA also cited the products as being misbranded because labels say that the products are free of formaldehyde. The agencies began investigating when hair-salon owners and workers submitted questions and complaints.

Brazilian Blowout continues to assert that the levels of formaldehyde in its products do not rise to the level that these agencies claim, and counters that OSHA tests actually show results below OSHA levels. The company states on its website that it is communicating this to the FDA in response to the warning letter, and that its products do comply with all air-monitoring guidelines.

--Carolyn Cotney

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