Under a new settlement agreement in California, the maker of Brazilian Blowout products is required to warn consumers and hair stylists that two of its popular hair-straightening products emit formaldehyde gas.
The settlement requires GIB, which does business as Brazilian Blowout, to stop advertisements that describe two of its products as formaldehyde-free and safe. Brazilian Blowout must also make significant changes to its website and pay $600,000 in fees, penalties and costs. The settlement also requires that Brazilian Blowout disclose refund policies to consumers before the products are purchased.
In its announcement of the settlement, the California Department of Justice said it was the first government enforceable action in the U.S. to address exposure to formaldehyde gas associated with Brazilian Blowout products, and also the first law enforcement action under California's Safe Cosmetics Act, which went into effect in 2005.
Formaldehyde is a known carcinogen. The Food and Drug Administration received a number of inquiries from consumers and salon professionals concerning the safety of Brazilian Blowout and similar "professional use only” hair smoothing products. In August 2011, the FDA issued a warning letter citing Brazilian Blowout for safety and labeling violations. The action followed a hazard alert the Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued in April 2011 to hair salon owners and workers about potential formaldehyde exposure from working with these products.
In 2010, Brazilian Blowout sued the Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services after that agency sampled more than 100 “formaldehyde-free” products from 50 salons and found “significant levels” of formaldehyde.
Attorney General Kamala D. Harris Announces Settlement Requiring Honest Advertising over Brazilian Blowout Products [California Department of Justice]
Oregon OSHA reiterates caution to salons using hair-smoothing products [OSHA]
Brazilian Blowout Sues Oregon OSHA over False and Misleading Test Results [Brazilian Blowout]
FDA, OSHA Act on Brazilian Blowout [FDA]