The U.S. Department of Labor recently issued a Hazard Alert for Brazilian keratin treatment products.

There has been a lot of controversy (and confusion”> lately over the recent Hazard Alert issued by the Department of Labor, but we’ve got the full scoop for you. After years of skepticism towards Brazilian keratin treatment products and the presence of formaldehyde, the Department of Labor recently issued a Hazard Alert that warns the public on the dangers of formaldehyde. This is perhaps where the different interpretations arise. Many consumers and stylists believe that this Hazard Alert is a ban on formaldehyde containing contents, however, the disclaimer at the bottom of the page provides some clarification. It reads:

The Hazard Alert

“This Hazard Alert is not a standard or regulation, and it creates no new legal obligations.” — U.S. Department of Labor

So there you have it. No ban has been issued just yet, but what this new document does achieve is national awareness of the problem. Even better, this new alert establishes recommendations and information on safety standards that stylists must adhere to. The hazard alert was released by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration—a branch of the U.S Department of Labor. Overall, the document emphasizes the importance of keeping a safe working environment, and it urges stylists and salon owners to exercise caution with products. And while employee safety is the main concern of this hazard alert, how dangerous is it for clients to be exposed to formaldehyde?

Whether or not you are a stylist, formaldehyde is a hazard whenever it is inhaled into the lungs or if it gets into the eyes. Every time a hot flat iron touches hair that has any form of formaldehyde, the chemical is released into the air as a gas and both the client and the stylist can breathe it in. This can cause irritation in the lungs, throat, nose and eyes. More information on formaldehyde can be found in the alert that OSHA issued.

Hazard Alert in a Nutshell

So what exactly does the Hazard Alert say? Here it is in a nutshell:

1. OSHA, or the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, has been investigating the presence of formaldehyde in the air of salons after receiving multiple complaints from stylists. What they found was that certain products labeled as “formaldehyde free” did in fact release formaldehyde into the air at levels above what OSHA allows. These products were not only falsely labeled, but they failed to provide any warnings, and formaldehyde did not appear on the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS”>. Two of these smoothing treatments are the Brazilian Blowout Acai Professional Smoothing Solution and Brazilian Blowout Professional Brazilian Blowout Solution.

Note: Good Housekeeping recently published their own investigation in which they tested four salon brand products: Brazilian Blowout, Marcia Teixeira, Keratin Complex by Coppola, and Global Keratin Light Wave. Their researchers found that ALL four brands released formaldehyde into the air at levels that exceeded the acceptable amount regulated by OSHA.

Susonnah Gonzalez

Susonnah Gonzalez

Hi! I'm Susonnah Gonzalez. I write, work, and live in Austin, TX. I began my wavy hair journey in college, which is when I really began to explore the needs of wavy hair and the products that work best with it. Every day is different with my hair but every day I learn something new!

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