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


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.

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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!

As a professional stylist, I prefer the Cocoa Keratin System and it's been excellent for the hair and very long lasting. It includes the pre-treatment shampoo, smoothing treatment, daily shampoo and conditioner. It contains protein and Argan oil so the hair is moisturized and nourished as well as smoothed, strengthened and softened. An excellent treatment for all hair types.
Keratin-based hair straighteners are so 2009 ;) Here in Brazil, a new generation of products are becoming available that use different amino acids which are safer and more stable than Keratin (so they don't require the addition of nasty stabilsers like Formaldehyde) Names to look out for include Tutanat and Always Beauty if you can get hold of them. Just had my first treatment and to my amazement the product was only left on my hair for ten minutes. Much less than the 48 hours I usually wait. Results are maybe even a little better than other Keratin treatments I've used, but I'm told they don't last quite as long.
Try Kerapure. It is the only labratory-tested treatment on the market!
i am a black 29 woman and allways had my hair permed and i recently went to a natural look and found a product called kerastrait a spray on keratin treatment so safe WOW ! i could not belive how it made my hair sliky and manageble i did have to use a flat iron but it was well worth it as it lasted a good month with only one treatment it comes in a 4 oz spray bottle and i only used maybe 1/2 oz i paid $49.99 with free shipping a good deal ! as i was told at a salon just one treatment on my hair would be $150.00 and i need to conserve $ so it wasa great deal i recommend this
Actually, the keratin treatments stays in for 2 days (48 hrs), not 4. But although the Japanese Thermal Reconditioning treatment sounds great, it also sounds like it's a straightener, which the Keratin was NOT. Many of us are OK with our curls, we just want them without the frizz. BTW, in my previous entry, I got the name wrong. It's the Brocato Curlinterrupted Smoothing System (
I have never been a fan of keratin smoothing treatments. After doing my own research on these treatments, I decided years ago that I would not subject my stylists nor my clients to a hair chemical that supposedly contains a fairly high percentage of formaldehyde. At Hair’s Talent, we offer Thermal Reconditioning, a much safer alternative to the keratin-based smoothing treatments. This revolutionary Japanese hair straightening system was introduced from Japan to the US around the beginning of the 21st century. Thioglycolate is the main chemical ingredient in Japanese Thermal Reconditioning, and permanent wave products. The reforming solution that is applied to the client’s hair generally contains 5-15% of thioglycolic acid compound. The treatment overall uses heat to restructure the hair’s protein bond which enables those with frizzy, curly, or wavy hair to experience permanently straight hair while at the same time preserving the hair’s health. It also improves the feel, texture, softness and shine of the hair, leaving the hair completely manageable. Generally, your hair will stay like that for about six months to a year depending on your curl pattern, length of hair, and how well you can manage your new growth. I have used the Thermal Reconditioning technique on all hair textures, including African-American hair textures. My clients love Thermal Reconditioning, and prefer it to other chemical straightening methods. If you compare Thermal Reconditioning with the keratin treatment, the Thermal is a permanent treatment while the keratin treatment only lasts for 1-3 months, depending on how well the stylist can blow dry and flat iron your hair. The keratin is left in your hair for 4 days before rinsing the chemical out, while the Thermal is rinsed out completely before leaving the salon. While the keratin treatment has a beautiful ending result sometimes (this depends on the hands - same with the Thermal Reconditioning), it's not worth my health. If I had chosen to do the Keratin in my salon, I would have financially done better than servicing the Thermal. Clients are paying somewhere between $200-$300 every 2-3 months while I charge any where between $350-$550 every 6 months after your initial Thermal. However, I prefer protecting the health of my stylists and clients over financially benefiting from a chemical solution that is claimed to be dangerous to a person’s health. By straightening hair with Thermal Reconditioning, my clients not only have beautiful, permanently straight, healthy, and shiny hair at the end of the treatment, but save more money in comparison to receiving the keratin treatment. Gina Rivera Healthy Hair Care Specialist Thermal Reconditioning in Connecticut at Hair's Talent
I also loved the Coppola Keratin treatment I did a few years ago (mine lasted much longer than expected!) but never did it again after the controversy. I was appalled that no one ever mentioned to me or gave me any warning about the formaldehyde contents. However, just last week I did a NEW similar FORMALDEHYDE-FREE (promised!) treatment called Bracato Smoothing. So far, so good, not as effective as the other, but very close...waiting to see how long it lasts. Try this alternative!
I saw this report when it first came out and immediately started testing out organic keratin treatment options to get this stuff out of my salon! I had my girls try a few different products, and a product called Keragreen came out on top. Weve been using that one since.
One of my neighbors is a retired hairstylist. He is on disability due to back problems,but his biggest problem is that he's on O2 constantly due to the fact that he had to have a lung removed due to inhaling all of those harmful salon chemicals over the years. Perm solution,straighteners,dyes,etc. So not worth it!
I think it's a shame that all these other countries taking steps to make sure that unsafe products in beauty salons are used, and the U.S. merely issues a warning. It's a good first step, but more needs to be done to ensure that employees and customers in these salons are in a safe environment.
I loved my Global keratin treatment when I had it over a year ago. I'd love to have it done again, but here in Canada most stylists have taken any kind of keratin treatment off their list of services. When will someone come out with a more organic or natural solution? I live in hope ;-)
Wow! I shared this information (article link) with my FB family and encouraged the ladies to read it.