OSHA releases a new Hazard Alert after cracking down on Brazilian Keratin Treatments.


Watch for other names for formaldehyde that distributors use.

A Chemical By Any Other Name

2. There are many names for formaldehyde that distributors use in order to label the product as “formaldehyde free.” If you see any of the following ingredients on your hair products, you should exercise caution before using them: methylene glycol, formalin, methylene oxide, paraform, formic aldehyde, methanal, oxomethane, oxymethylene, or CAS Number 50-00-0.

3. Every stylist should have a Material Safety Data Sheet for every product that contains an ingredient that is hazardous to the health. Essentially, every employee should be informed of the dangers of a particular product and should receive proper training on how to handle said products. Also, the Hazard Alert admits that not all Material Safety Data Sheets have all their ingredients listed, but if stylists experience health problems that they suspect to be the result of formaldehyde, they should report it to their employers. “Formaldehyde must be listed if it is in the product at 0.1% or more (as a gas or in solution) or if the product releases formaldehyde above 0.1 parts of formaldehyde per million parts of air.” (U.S Department of Labor)

4. If stylists decide to use products that release formaldehyde, they must install air ventilation systems, use lower heat settings on blow dryers and flat irons, offer stylists respirators, post signs that warn clients of the presence of formaldehyde, and educate the employees that might come into contact with the product.

Essentially, the alert doesn’t “ban” the use of formaldehyde, but it does set up some restrictions. Outside the U.S, however, several countries are taking measures to completely remove dangerous keratin treatments from the market. According to Europa Affairs, the following countries have banned specific keratin treatments:

1. France: Hair treatment product by BHOME, SOCAP Professionnel Paris, Nanokeratin system
2. Germany: Four different keratin treatments by Coppola
3. Ireland: Coppola, Global Keratin, and Marcia Teixeira
4. Portugal: Alter Ego
5. The Netherlands: Chenice

Unfortunately, the list doesn’t stop there. On October 26, 2010, Health Canada issued an advisory stating that the Brazilian Blowout contains 12% formaldehyde and should not be used. Since then, Health Canada has been working to stop distribution of the solution.

Will the United States follow their lead? What are your thoughts?