Brazilian Hair Straightening - Fabulous or Fatal?
Fad Hair Treatment Responsible for at Least One Death
By Nancy Lichtenstein
The active ingredient of the straightening solution is formaldehyde, a known carcinogen.
Most solutions contain up to 10 times the amount of formaldehyde that the FDA considers safe.
In March 2007 a 33 year old Brazilian woman died from the treatment.
Brazilian Hair Straightening is the hottest fad to hit beauty salons since, well, Brazilian waxing. Touted as a more natural, cheaper and less labor intensive process than Japanese hair straightening, stylists who perform this service claim it uses keratin, a natural protein, to soften, smooth and straighten hair. Before and after photos used as promotions for the treatment feature models with shiny, pin-straight tresses. The truth is, Brazilian Hair Straightening, also known as Brazilian Keratin Treatment, really does work as advertised. The only problem is, the part they don't tell you is that it can kill you!
While keratin is indeed an ingredient in the formulas used to perform Brazilian Hair Straightening, the true active ingredient is formaldehyde (as in embalming fluid). Formaldehyde is known to be an aggressive carcinogen, and its fumes are extremely dangerous. Heat and moderate humidity levels accelerate the noxious effects of the chemical. Since the Brazilian Hair Straightening treatment also involves applying heat to the hair with a straight-iron, stylists who perform it are in danger, and are cautioned to wear gas masks and latex gloves and perform the procedure in an area with ventilation. Even with these precautions the FDA considers any solution containing more than .02% formaldehyde to be patently unsafe. They don't regulate the formulas, however, most of which are manufactured in Latin America, and the higher the percentage of formaldehyde, the more effective a straightener the treatment is. Random testing performed by Allure Magazine indicated that some salons were using solutions that contained as much as ten times the safe amount.
Brazilian Keratin Treatments aren't dangerous only to the stylist. It is theorized that repeated treatments will cause formaldehyde buildup in the hair, releasing formaldehyde fumes every time a patron blow dries or hot-irons her hair. There has been at least one documented death from the treatment. In March 2007, a 33 year old Brazilian woman actually died from the process. Anvisa, Brazil's National Health Surveillance Agency, believes that an excess of noxious fumes were released from the heat when she took a shower after leaving the solution in her hair for 4 days. Is straight hair worth dying for? That should be a rhetorical question.
When news reports of the potentially fatal consequences of this treatment hit the mass media through an article in Allure Magazine and a report on CBS News' "The Early Show," however, it only seemed to give the process illicit appeal for some women in fashion-conscious cities with large Brazilian populations. In Miami, for example, newspapers and local craigslist sites feature numerous classified ads advertising Brazilian Straightening, often touting the fact that the solution is "the highest concentration available." In many cases, these ads refer to treatments done in homes of individuals who are not even licensed cosmetologists, and the perceived benefit to the client is more straightening power for less money. But by using embalming fluid on her hair, they may be hastening her and themselves to the grave.
December 6, 2007 Time Out New York Magazine, "Scared Straight" by Rachel LeWinter
October 14, 2007 New York Magazine, "Shear Madness" by Emma Rosenblum
In my humble opinion, it is the core morals, ethics and integrity of the people, who lead such deviant companies that matter.
When you see that a company doesn't care for the health, life and limb of the very people (Stylists) who buy its products and pay their wages...SOMETHING IS TERRIBLY WRONG!
They really do not care about the thousands or hundreds of Stylists and Clients gettign sick, injured or even getting cancer and dying...all they want is the $,$$$,$$$'s! And I hear, many of these people, have become MULTI-MILLIONAIRES!!! They live in huge mansions and drive super luxury cars...live the good life!
To LIE repeatedly and sell A POISON, in high percentages, well above the FDA/OSHA prescribed limits, to fake ingredient listings and MSDS sheets, to make your own sales people lie, hire Scientists and form associatons to lie, make your distributors lie, is nothing short of CRIMINAL in my opinion.
In China, such immoral people would be executed immediately, as they did with the baby milk adulteration executives. Sometimes, I think our US Govt. and justice system is too slow and the immoral, corrupt, rich people with lots of money and wily lawyers, get away with perpetrating crimes on the common folk. The lawyers will do anything for money too!
What I fear most, is that our entire salon industry is so nice but gullible, and that these same people, will form their third, fourth and fifth companies selling this or other similar poisons/or even benign products and associations, distributors, stylists will foolishly forgive them and buy their products.
Such IMMORAL people need to be SHUNNED FOREVER!
Hopefully things will continue to go in this direction....
Brazilian Straightening Formaldehyde Companies Cited and Fined
do you have any info reganding KERATIN CURE BIOLOGICAL TREATMENT ?
GREAT NEWS AT LAST !
Brazilian Blowout Fined $600,000 and forced to put Cancer warnings !
Great Job Cyrus¡¡¡
Great news! And, a great start.... Hope there will be some kind of enforcement. I also hope that the other keratin companies will have to do the same thing soon. Any salon that does a keratin treatment that produces formaldehyde should have to post a warning near the salon entrance as well as hand the client a brochure to read before doing the service. But, that would have to take an honest, non-greedy hairstylist! Thanks for posting!
Thank you Elena and all who wrote me privately.
This shows what people can do when you see PURE EVIL GREED of a few, to make money at the expense of health, sickness and perhaps even death by CANCER of Stylsts and Clients.
I did this ONLY TO PROTECT THE US Stylist! I lost thousands of dollars as I could not participate in the lawsuits, or work on straighteners/Keratin - in the meanwhile.
KEEP SAFE MY STYLIST FRIENDS!