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Brazilian Blowout Settlement Forces Hazard Warning

January 31, 2012

LOS ANGELES - Brazilian Blowouts are now coming with a hazardous warning label. A settlement reached between the state and makers of the popular hair-smoothing treatment now requires that hair stylists and their customers be warned the product exposes them to a cancer-causing chemical.

Alexandra Scranton, director of science and research for Women's Voices for the Earth, says salon workers across the U.S. are exposed to dangerous levels of formaldehyde from hair-smoothing products that have been banned for more than a year in Canada and other countries.

"We're really pleased to see California is using the authority it has to hold the company responsible for how it's communicating about its product, and let consumers know that, 'Yes, this product does contain formaldehyde, which is dangerous.'"

Formaldehyde is a carcinogen, according to the U.S. National Toxicology Program, and it can cause serious and long-term health effects, including breathing difficulties, bloody noses and nausea. The settlement is the first enforceable action under a 2005 cosmetics-labeling law, and will also require the company to submit its products for testing.

Leeann Brown is spokeswoman for the Environmental Working Group that conducted an investigation last year that found 16 companies include formaldehyde in their hair-smoothing products. That organization wants the FDA to go further.

"We're really calling on the FDA to ban formaldehyde as an ingredient in these popular products, so consumers and salon workers aren't inhaling a known human carcinogen."

The settlement also requires the manufacturers to post the carcinogen warning on its website and limit sale of the products to professional, licensed stylists.

More information is at www.womensvoices.org

Lori Abbott, Public News Service - CA