4 On Your Side: Hair Treatment Alert
warning about popular hair treatment Video by tmj4.comvideo
MILWAUKEE - They say beauty is pain, but a new hair smoothing treatment could be taking that to the extreme. A federal agency is alerting salons about the possible dangers of the Brazilian Blowout hair straightening system.
Apply, blow dry, flatten--those are the 3 easy steps to the treatment, and local women are raving about the results!
One woman says, "It just brought shine back to my hair, and manageability."
Another woman adds, "It's kinda life-changing a little bit."
For others like Chicago's Stephanie Addesso, the 'life-changing' effects have not been so good.
"My hair is falling out constantly. I'm worried that it's not going to grow back," Addesso explains.
She says the treatment was great at first, but now, she is able to pull out small clumps at a time.
Chicago salon owner Adriana Mendoza even took Brazilian blowout off her shelf, after she felt harmful affects while using it on her customers.
"Headaches, lot of headaches, and basically I felt, something's wrong with me," Mendoza recalls.
The Federal Workplace Safety Agency, OSHA, recently issued a hazard alert to salon owners--saying some of these hair smoothing products contain formaldehyde. Alexandra Scranton is with the consumer advocate group Women's Voices For The Earth.
She says, "Formaldehyde is a known carcinogen, it causes cancer, and we've got great concerns for salon workers using this product every day, and what their exposures are over the long term."
Women's Voices For The Earth has a warning about Brazilian Blowout on its website. The makers claim it's 'formaldehyde-free', but the advocacy group says tests show it's there, and could be unhealthy even for customers who aren't getting the treatment.
"It gases off into the air, it's a very powerful irritant so you get stinging eyes, throat irritation, difficulty breathing," Scranton says.
Oregon OSHA found formaldehyde when it did tests. Meanwhile in California, the Attorney General is suing Brazilian Blowout for not warning customers about the carcinogen. According to Women's Voices For The Earth; Canada, Germany, Australia, Ireland, and France have all recalled hair straighteners containing formaldehyde.
"I honestly don't know who's telling the truth. My only thing, and biggest concern, our industry is supposed to be an industry that makes women look and feel beautiful, not to make them sick," Mendoza explains.
It's still all the rage here in Milwaukee--from deals on Groupon, Living Social, and webpages full of salons offering the service, usually for about $300 a pop!
Milwaukee stylist Kelton Hatton admits he has had concerns about the product, and he pays attention to the latest news, and wants to keep his customers informed.
"There's a pamphlet of info that I give to my clients, that's in the salon for them to read.... It explains what the levels were, the tests done by Oregon OSHA--it's good information."
There is a new product called Brazilian Blowout Zero, which claims to be a milder formula. Sarah Richman has had the original treatment done twice, and plans to do it again.
"We're exposed to formaldehyde every day in so many things, that I don't see it's a big concern of mine, based on the research I've done," Richman says.
But for people like Stephanie Addesso, one treatment was too much. She recalls, "I always got complimented on how gorgeous my hair was. Now it's limp. It's shiny, but I don't have a lot of it."
A miracle hair treatment, or a nasty dose of formaldehyde? For now it's a decision Wisconsin women have to make for themselves.
We called and emailed the makers of Brazilian Blowout for an interview, but they did not respond. The new hazard alert from the federal government means salons here in Wisconsin now risk violating OSHA standards if they don't take serious precautions to protect stylists who are still using the original Brazilian Blowout solution.
There is a federal bill called the 'Safe Cosmetics Act' that would ban ingredients like formaldehyde in products. It's expected to be re-introduced possibly this Summer.