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Lawmakers call for regulation of the Brazilian Blowout

As chemical hair straighteners become increasingly popular, concerns that they might be harmful to the user's health has prompted some lawmakers to call for regulation of these products by the FDA. Several salon workers testified in Washington, claiming that exposure to chemical hair straighteners had caused them to become sick.

The product that is causing the most concern is called the Brazilian Blowout. This product is advertised as a solution to problems with frizzy hair, but recent studies have found high concentrations of formaldehyde, a chemical classified as a probable carcinogen by the Environmental Protection Agency, present in the Brazilian Blowout. With these studies in mind, and due to reports of adverse health effects being suffered by people who use the Brazilian Blowout, some lawmakers would like to have these potentially dangerous products recalled.

One individual said she has since switched to an organic hair relaxer, explaining that the chemical straightener she had caused her to experience medical problems. Another stylist explained that she and her colleagues work long hours, and regulating the products would provide them with a safer work environment.

The salon workers have joined the concerned lawmakers in urging the FDA to regulate the products, banning known carcinogens from being used in their production. They are also requesting that the FDA issue a voluntary recall of two chemical straighteners that were discovered to contain potentially dangerous levels of formaldehyde.

Some workers claim to have suffered itchy eyes, throat pain and difficulty breathing after being exposed to the products. While the manufacturer of the products argues that they are safe and that the complaints are unsubstantiated by research, the workers and lawmakers want the FDA to more thoroughly test chemical hair straighteners and use warning labels to indicate products that use formaldehyde. The group would also like to allow the FDA to more easily issue recalls of dangerous cosmetic products.

Source: WPRI.com, "Popular hair product under fire in D.C.," Susan Hogan, 5/18/2011

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