OSHA fines distributor of Brazilian Blowout

OSHA fines distributor of Brazilian Blowout »Play Video
BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is now putting out some stern warnings about hair straighteners and the manufacturer of one of those products has even been slapped with fines.

The first complaints came out of Oregon, after a hair stylist said she had nosebleeds and trouble breathing while using a Brazilian Blowout product labeled "formaldehyde-free."

Formaldehyde is known to cause cancer. When Oregon's OSHA branch tested the solution the found Formaldehyde. California was next to investigate and after more than a year of testing the results are in.

After several complaints from salons in several states, the federal OSHA office started investigating the popular hair product.

Eyewitness News spoke with, Doctor David Michaels, Assistant Secretary of Labor at the federal office to find out more. Michaels tells Eyewitness News that during their investigation they monitored the air at several salons while the products were being used.

He says they found levels of Formaldehyde that are higher than permissible by law and higher than the OSHA standard. Dr. Michaels went on to says, "We found high amounts of formaldehyde in conjunction with the use of Brazilian Blowout and other hair smoothing products."

Those findings prompted an OSHA Hazard Alert. It's shocking news to House of Color salon owner, Gina Paregien who says "It is a huge concern, cause yeah our concern is for our clients first, our stylists safety and it's very frustrating."

Eyewitness News first spoke with Paregien last October. Back then she said she noticed a funny smell while using the product but thought it was safe because the bottle was labeled "Formaldehyde free." More than six months later Paregien is still using the product and told us, "As far was we know there is nothing that is wrong with the product because no one is letting us know."

But according to OSHA says there is Formaldehyde in many of these hair straightening solutions.

Michaels says "There is a problem with the label of formaldehyde free, because there are chemicals used in some of these smoothing materials that when they hit the air they become Formaldehyde." Because of this mislabeling, California's OSHA branch has fined the distributor of Brazilian Blowout, GIB LLC. more than seven thousand dollars. But at this point the product has not been banned.

Paregien wants to continue using Brazilian Blowout but is left wondering who she can trust. Doctor Michaels offers this advice to salon professionals saying, " We think that salon owner should talk to their supplier and manufacturers and get written assurance that this is a safe product."

According to OSHA Brazilian Blowout claims to be creating a true Formaldehyde free formula which is expected soon. During our story we tried to contact Brazilian Blowout, but at this point we have not heard back. OSHA says they do not recommend using products with Formaldehyde. They also said the Food and Drug Administration, who regulate cosmetics, is also looking into the issue.