The FDA has been notified by some state and local organizations of reports from salons about problems associated with the use of Brazilian Blowout, a product used to straighten hair. Complaints include eye irritation, breathing problems and headaches. State and local organizations with authority over the operation of salons are currently investigating these reports.
To date, FDA has not received any official adverse event reports on Brazilian Blowout. FDA has, however, recently received a number of inquiries from consumers and salon professionals concerning the safety of this product and similar “professional use only” hair care products.
Although FDA does not have authority over the operation of salons, the Agency does have certain authority over hair straighteners and similar cosmetic products. FDA is working with state and local organizations, as well as the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) to determine whether the products or ingredients would be likely to cause health problems under the intended conditions of use. The composition of the products and the labeling, including use instructions and any warning statements, will be key factors in this determination.
From our understanding of how this type of hair straightening product is used, there appears to be the possibility for formaldehyde to be released into the air after the product has been applied to the hair and heated. Workplace safety in general, including air quality issues, is regulated by OSHA. Salons are generally subject to state and local authorities as well, which may specify safety practices such as assuring proper ventilation. Some information regarding workplace exposure to formaldehyde is available on OSHA’s website (view here). The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also has published resources on formaldehyde on its website (view here).
Consumers and salon professionals are urged to report adverse experiences to FDA in either of the following ways:
1) Reporting to the nearest FDA district office. Phone numbers for their complaint coordinators are posted on FDA’s website and in the Blue Pages of the phone book, generally under United States Government/Health and Human Services.
2) Reporting to MedWatch, click here to email.
FDA will continue to monitor this problem and will report on any new developments.