The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is targeting Brazilian Blowouts—a hair-straightening salon treatment reportedly coveted by stars like Jennifer Aniston and Halle Berry—due to the products' dangerous levels of carcinogenic formaldehyde.
This past week, FDA issued a warning letter to the makers of the Brazilian Blowout Acai Professional Smoothing Solution, after government tests detected formaldehyde at levels that endanger salon patrons and employees. Although the product is touted as "formaldehyde free," an FDA analysis found levels of methylene glycol (the liquid form of formaldehyde), up to 10 times higher than the legal limit set by the Occupational Safety & Health Administration. In some cases, more than 10 percent of the tested product's weight came in liquid formaldehyde form—way over the legal limit. FDA also told the company that the high formaldehyde content made the product "adulterated" and "misbranded," and for those reasons, it's illegal to ship the product across state lines.
While salon workers who inhale the compound daily face the greatest risk, the FDA also noted straight-hair-seeking salon patrons are at risk, too. Reported side effects of the treatment include blurred vision, headache, dizziness, wheezing, chest pain, vomiting, and rash.
Read Brazilian Blowout Dangers for more information on the salon treatment, and safer hair-straightening solutions.