The Environmental Working Group (EWG) and Women’s Voices for the Earth allege that the Food and Drug Administration has failed to act on dangerous hair straighteners which contain unsafe levels of formaldehyde, in a motion filed July 28th in federal district court. This is an addendum to the groups’ lawsuit against the FDA for its failure to act on a six-year-old petition requesting an investigation into popular hair smoothing treatments that are still sold in stores and salons. These straighteners – often known as keratin treatments or by the name of one prominent brand, Brazilian Blowout – contain formaldehyde, a known human carcinogen and potent allergen.
“The FDA has failed to protect stylists and consumers from exposure to formaldehyde,” said Melanie Benesh, a legislative attorney at EWG. “Since at least 2008, the agency has known about the health hazards associated with these hair straightening products and done nothing. Despite the complaints, the FDA has yet to take action to regulate these products.” High levels of formaldehyde make many keratin hair straightening treatments a serious health threat for both clients and salon workers. These treatments involve liquids applied to hair, which are then heated using blow dryers and straightening irons. The high temperatures of these hair styling tools cause the liquids to release formaldehyde into the air. (more…)