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Cosmetics industry warns against cancer-causing formaldehyde in hair straighteners.

Cosmetics industry warns against cancer-causing formaldehyde in hair straighteners

For Immediate Release:
March 11, 2011

Jamie Silberberger, jamies@womensvoices.org, 406-543-3747
Sian Wu, sian@resource-media.org, 206-374-7795 x102

SACRAMENTO—For the first time, the cosmetics industry’s safety review board has come out with an opinion that critiques the safety of formaldehyde in the popular hair straighteners known as “Brazilian” keratin treatments. The national Cosmetics Ingredient Review Expert Panel, which reviews and assesses the safety of cosmetic ingredients, concluded yesterday that cosmetic products containing formaldehyde should not exceed 0.2 percent, for health and safety reasons. Hair straightening products such as Brazilian Blowout and Acai Professional Smoothing Solution were found to contain levels of formaldehyde far exceeding that—as high as 11.8 percent—despite the fact that they were labeled formaldehyde-free. The Panel cited studies finding that exposure to formaldehyde gas can lead to certain types of nose and throat cancers, and even leukemia.

In its announcement yesterday, the panel said, “It cannot be concluded that formaldehyde/methylene glycol is safe in cosmetic products intended to be aerosolized or in which formaldehyde/methylene glycol vapor or gas will be produced under conditions of use.”

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