Saturday, October 2, 2010

Safety of the Brazilian Blowout hair smoothing treatment in question

For months I have been wanting to try the Brazilian Blowout. Celebrities such as Nicole Richie have raved about the hair treatment, which is said to leave the hair exceptionally smooth, easy to style, and best of all -- frizz free. But after hearing about a new study conducted by the Oregon division of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), I'm a little concerned.
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In the study, the Oregon OSHA found that the Brazilian Blowout product contained significant amounts of formaldehyde. Several samples of the product obtained from Portland-area hair salons were tested, and formaldehyde was found in every case.

The study was conducted in response to concerns raised by Oregon hair salons after employees complained of eye irritation, nose bleeds and difficulty breathing after using the products. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) says that formaldehyde can cause irritation of the eyes, skin, nose and upper respiratory tract as well as coughing, chest pain, shortness of breath and wheezing. Heavy exposure could cause some kinds of cancers, according to the CDC.

Makers of the treatment, however, maintain it contains no harsh chemicals and is formaldehyde-free.

"At Brazilian Blowout, the safety of our products, stylists and consumers is our number one priority," the company said in a statement to ABC's Good Morning America. "We stand behind the integrity of our product, and affirm that our professional solution is indeed formaldehyde-free."

Obviously, if it is true that the products contain formaldehyde, salon workers are most at risk because they would face regular exposure. What this study tells us is that some salons are administering the Brazilian Blowout treatment with products that contain formaldehyde. It does not necessarily mean that all salons are.

Based on this one study, I think more analysis is needed. The Oregon CDC obtained the solutions it tested from salons -- not directly from the distributor of the product. It is unclear whether the salons obtained the products directly from the distributor or from another source.

What do you think of this study? Have you tried the Brazilian Blowout?

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