There has been a recent study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatologists, suggesting that Cape Town, South Africans who straighten their hair might be in danger. There have been numerous reports stating that their "Brazilian Keratin" relaxers and texturizers contain "unacceptably high and dangerous concentrations of formaldehyde." This straightening method is said to have been invented by a Brazilian mortician (go figure).
What does this mean for the Cape Town community of coilies who seek a straighter, sleeker solution for their hair? A greater risk of eye and skin reactions, respiratory problems, leukaemia, lymphoma, and cancer, in addition to adverse birth defects for those who are pregnant.
Researchers have raised concerns about misleading warning labels on these products and lack of education given to salon stylists who use the keratin treatments on their clients. One reporter states their desire for products with harmful ingredients to start being labeled correctly. "...Perhaps it is time that products known to contain potentially harmful ingredients should be required to clearly list concentrations on labels. Random tests could then be used to monitor and influence industry practice in the interest of consumer safety and occupational health."