I was glad to see Good Morning America’s hidden camera investigation about Brazilian Blowout. It’s shocking that so many salons are ignoring the many government warnings about these products. As a hairstylist seriously affected by this toxic treatment, I and so many of my colleagues know firsthand just how dangerous these products really are.
Going undercover is the perfect way to expose what’s really going on in salons across this country and revealing how clients are continually being lied to. I commend GMA for bringing this story to light, but sadly, they have only begun to scratch the surface here. Unfortunately, a three-minute story can’t capture all the escalating illnesses and severe health problems that this product and others like it have created for so many people working in salons, along with the turmoil and infighting that is going on behind closed doors.
Grown adults are being bullied for speaking up about being sick or for not wanting their clients to be exposed to the toxic fumes of formaldehyde. Many stylists are choosing to listen to a company that has done nothing but lie to them, instead of numerous government health agencies that are trying to protect and warn them about these dangers. If sore throats, bloody noses, rashes, respiratory problems, and even CANCER doesn’t scare them, maybe OSHA fining 26 salons for up to $17,000 each will get their attention!
Brazilian Blowout continues to blame the stylists for these ill health effects instead of the high levels of toxic formaldehyde. Now that the California Attorney General’s lawsuit has forced Brazilian Blowout to stop lying about being “safe” and “formaldehyde free” they may have come up with their craziest spin yet:
“Brazilian Blowout, like a number of products that we use each day, offer great benefits when used as directed. Aspirin, for example, can ease mild pain such as headaches. However, taking 12 aspirins at one time would result in adverse effects. Yet, no one has a fear of aspirin.”
Since when is cancer a great benefit? As ridiculous as it is to compare Brazilian Blowout to aspirin, unlike Brazilian Blowout, those aspirins would only harm the individual foolish enough to take 12 of them, and not innocent bystanders. That’s the story here: unsuspecting clients are being exposed to dangerous formaldehyde without their knowledge or consent.
The woman getting a hair smoothing treatment may be okay with exposing herself to the sensory irritation and carcinogenicity of formaldehyde, but what about everyone else in the room? Salons are filled with clients who have cancer and are going through chemotherapy, clients who are pregnant, clients with asthma, and mothers bringing their kids. People are getting sick when using this product “as directed” by the manufacturer and I have yet to see any of these companies set limits on how many of these toxic treatments a salon can do in one day. When we were performing this service in our salon, there were four Brazilian Blowouts done consecutively in one day alone.
The exposure doesn’t end when the client is finished with this service and walks out the door; these products reactivate every time you apply heat to them. Our salon owner had to put up a sign for our clients saying we can no longer provide any heat services on their hair if they’ve had ANY Keratin Smoothing Treatment in the last four months, because many of us were getting sick.
The GMA investigation exposes exactly why these products need to be recalled and taken off the market. The government warnings obviously are not getting to the stylists and these products are too dangerous to be used in salons. Innocent people are being exposed and people are getting sick. Visiting a salon should be a pleasurable experience, not a potential health hazard.
Five countries have already banned Brazilian Blowout, let’s make ours the sixth!
If you have been affected by Brazilian Blowout, the FDA needs to hear from you! Please go to the National Healthy Nail and Beauty Salon Alliance website and click on “tell the FDA your story.”
EDITOR’S NOTE: Brazilian Blowout has agreed to settle a class-action lawsuit for $4.5 million. As the New York Times reported today, Michael Brady, CEO of the company, said the settlement would be paid by his insurance company. He said the fact that the product does not need to be reformulated is “the acquittal we’ve been waiting for.” As I wrote in my earlier blog, Brazilian Blowout is the perfect case study for our broken system of consumer protection. A huge thank you to Jennifer Arce (that’s her above) and all the brave hair stylists who are speaking out about this injustice. – Stacy Malkan