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WVE Response to Brazilian Blowout Safety Claims

Q. Brazilian Blowout tells me that OSHA proved their product was safe for stylists to use?  Is that true?

Unfortunately not. Read on to find out more.

Q. Who is OSHA? What did their test results find?

Oregon OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) is the governmental agency that initially conducted testing on Brazilian Blowout products, in response to health complaints of difficulty breathing, nose bleeds, and eye irritation filed by stylists in Oregon.

What Oregon OSHA found:

1)    Brazilian Blowout hair straightening products contain significant amounts of formaldehyde (6-11% of the product) despite product labels that claimed these products were “formaldehyde-free”.

2)    Levels of formaldehyde are detectable in the air in salons during a single Brazilian Blowout treatment which exceed recommended exposure limits established by the ACGIH (American Conference of Governmental Industrial Chemists) and NIOSH (National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health).

3)    The much higher formaldehyde action level established by federal OSHA was not exceeded by air testing conducted during a single Brazilian Blowout treatment.  Concern was expressed that multiple treatments in the same day in a salon could lead to formaldehyde levels which exceed the action level.

4)    Oregon OSHA concluded that “there are meaningful risks to salon workers when they are confronted with these hair smoothing products.

Oregon OSHA’s full test results and report can be downloaded here.
Oregon OSHA’s Hazard Alert on formaldehyde-containing Hair Smoothing Products can be found here.

Q. What does it mean when Brazilian Blowout says the levels of formaldehyde were lower than the OSHA Action Limit?

This means that the levels of formaldehyde found in the air during a Brazilian Blowout treatment are not so high as to be illegal for a workplace.  When the OSHA Action limit is exceeded in an industrial workplace, considerable protective measures including special ventilation measures, protective clothing, medical surveillance and training must be implemented by law in order to reduce levels and protect workers.  When levels are below the Action Limit, this does not mean that the levels of formaldehyde found in the air in salons are necessarily safe or healthy for workers.  The formaldehyde levels found in the air of salons are high enough to cause health impacts in some workers.  Symptoms such as difficulty breathing, eye and nose irritation are all associated with formaldehyde exposure similar to what is found in salons during a Brazilian Blowout treatment.  Formaldehyde is also a human carcinogen.  Thus chronic exposure at any level could potentially lead to cancer, and should be avoided.

Testing Results

Actions on Brazilian Blowout

Information for Stylists


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