The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a press release warning consumers that the popular hair treatment ‘Brazilian Blowout’ is a dangerous product, and that it has the potential to cause injury to salon workers and customers who are exposed to it. According to the warning, Brazilian Blowout contains formaldehyde (although it is not listed on the product label), which is known to be a cancer-causing agent when released into the air and inhaled by those exposed to it. The Brazilian Blowout Lawyers at Schmidt & Clark, LLP are currently investigating potential lawsuits nationwide on behalf of victims injured by Brazilian Blowout side effects.
Brazilian Blowout Update 6/12/12: A recent landmark settlement between the Attorney General’s office of California and manufacturers of Brazilian Blowout hair straightening products is intended to protect salon workers and consumers from cancer-causing agents allegedly contained in the product. The settlement, which was reached earlier this year, stemmed from complaints from stylists and customers that Brazilian Blowout chemicals were causing nose bleeds, burns to the eyes and throat, skin irritation, and asthma attacks.
Free Brazilian Blowout Case Evaluation: If you or a loved one has been injured after being treated with Brazilian Blowout, you should contact our law firm immediately. You may be entitled to compensation by filing a lawsuit and we can help.
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What’s the problem?
In addition to the FDA warning concerning Brazilian Blowout, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued a hazard alert about the risks of the trendy hair straightening product. During investigations, OSHA found formaldehyde in the air when stylists used Brazilian Blowout products.
During one investigation in particular, air tests showed formaldehyde at levels greater than OSHA’s limits, even though the product was labeled as formaldehyde-free. The administration has stated that formaldehyde presents a health hazard if workers are exposed during the course of their regular tasks.
Formaldehyde is a colorless gas with a characteristic pungent odor that is widely known to be an extremely toxic human carcinogen. The FDA has sent a letter to GMB, the manufacturer of Brazilian Blowout, confirming the presence of formaldehyde in their product. According to the letter, the administration believes Brazilian Blowout is mislabeled because it contains verbiage stating that it is formaldehyde free, or that it contains no formaldehyde.
An FDA analysis found that Brazilian Blowout contains up to 10% formaldehyde, making it similar to the strength of formaldehyde used for embalming corpses. According to the Cosmetics Ingredient Review Expert Panel, anything over 0.02% presents a substantial health risk.
An increasing number of salon workers and consumers treated with Brazilian Blowout have reported experiencing side effects including:
- breathing problems
- other significant health issues
All of these symptoms occurred after Brazilian Blowout was applied and heated with a blow dryer, which is how the product is intended to be used. For their part, GMB has repeatedly insisted that Brazilian Blowout is safe and that it conforms with all laws and safety standards. The FDA is demanding that the company address the problem or risk having its product seized by the government.
FDA Brazilian Blowout Warning Letter
On August 22, 2011, the FDA sent a warning letter  to Mike Brady, CEO of the company that manufactures Brazilian Blowout, stating that the product is adultered and misbranded. The administration defines a cosmetic as being adultered if it bears or contains any toxic substance which may render it harmful to consumers. The letter states:
“Brazilian Blowout contains methylene glycol, the liquid form of formaldehyde, which, under the conditions of use prescribed in the labeling, releases formaldehyde when hair treated with the product is heated with a blow dryer and then with a hot flat iron. Methylene glycol is a deleterious substance, which at the levels present in this product, may harm users under the conditions of use prescribed in the labeling thereof. FDA analysis of approximately 50 mg samples of Brazilian Blowout confirmed the presence of methylene glycol, the liquid form of formaldehyde, at levels ranging from 8.7 to 10.4%.”
The letter goes on to state that the FDA has received adverse event reports associated with Brazilian Blowout including:
- eye disorders (irritation, increased lacrimation, blurred vision, hyperaemia)
- nervous system disorders (headache, burning sensation, dizziness, syncope)
- respiratory tract disorders (dyspnea, cough, nasal discomfort, epistaxis, wheezing, rhinorrhea, throat irritation, nasopharyngitis)
- nausea hypotrichosis
- chest pain
- chest discomfort
Additionally, the FDA has asserted that Brazilian Blowout is misbranded because it contains no mention of formaldehyde in its labeling. The agency defines a cosmetic as misbranded if its labeling is false or misleading in any way. According to the letter:
“Brazilian Blowout is misbranded because its label and labeling (including instructions for use) makes misleading statements regarding the product’s ingredients and fails to reveal material facts with respect to consequences that may result from the use of the product. Specifically, Brazilian Blowout contains the liquid form of formaldehyde, methylene glycol; however, the product label declares that the product contains “No Formaldehyde” or is “Formaldehyde Free.” This declaration renders your product misbranded because it is a false and misleading statement. In addition, the failure to include information about the release of formaldehyde into the air during the heating process on the product’s label or labeling makes your product misbranded because you fail to reveal material facts with respect to consequences that may result from the use of your product under the conditions of use prescribed in the labels or labeling.”
The FDA is currently working with various government organizations, as well as with OSHA, to determine the exact chemical composition of Brazilian Blowout, and whether the product is likely to cause health problems under the intended conditions of use. The administration is also investigating whether Brazilian Blowout products, which are intended to be applied by professionals only, are being sold to consumers for their personal use at home.
Unlike cosmetics marketed only to professionals, those marketed in a retail setting to consumers from the general public must conform to the Fair Packaging and Labeling Act (FPLA), and include an ingredient declaration on the label.
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