I was glad to see the Wall Street Journal story about the dangers of Brazilian Blowout hair treatments. The article did a good job describing the health concerns with this product, but left out an important part of the story: Where’s FDA? The story of Brazilian Blowout is the perfect illustration of FDA’s failure to protect the public from dangerous products.
Here’s the Letter to the Editor I wrote to Wall Street Journal (which they have not yet seen fit to print) laying out the concerns that are piled up so high that even cynical me is shocked that FDA has failed to act.
Thanks to Anjali Athavaley for her story about the concerns with keratin hair treatments (Taming of the Curl, March 23). The situation with Brazilian Blowout illustrates the need for regulatory reform in the US. These products have been pulled from the shelves in Canada, France and Ireland; health warnings have been issued by Oregon OSHA and Connecticut Department of Health; and the California Attorney General has filed a lawsuit against the company. The Cosmetics Ingredient Review Panel has said the levels of formaldehyde and methylene glycol in these products cannot be verified as safe, and even the Personal Care Products Council is asking FDA to intervene.
Yet FDA has taken no action and Brazilian Blowout treatments are still being used in salons across America, still exposing women and salon workers to a known carcinogen. It’s time to reform the 70-year-old cosmetics regulations in the US and give FDA the authority and resources to keep unsafe products off the market.
Update: In September 2011 — a full year after Canada banned the products — US FDA finally issued a warning letter to Brazilian Blowout. But the agency has taken no action to actually protect consumers, and formaldehyde hair straighteners are still being applied to the heads of women across America.