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Brazilian Blowout: Perfect Case Study for our Broken System

by Stacy MalkanNot Just A Pretty Face
February 1st, 2012

Kudos to California Attorney General Kamala Harris for doing what no other government agency in the U.S. has been able to do: get Mike Brady and the folks over at Brazilian Blowout to stop lying about the dangers of their products.

Until now, Brady and gang have been aggressively marketing their formaldehyde hair relaxers as safe for salons. Case in point: this letter Brady sent to a California hair stylist in January claiming that “misleading and conflicting information” caused “unfounded and unecccessary apprehension and concern” about their products.

Um, right. Never mind the multiple government warnings that Brazilian Blowout products emit high levels of formaldehyde — a known human carcinogen that can also cause breathing difficulties, bloody noses, nausea and other awful symptoms — and FDA’s recent threat to seize the products. Or that several countries banned these dangerous products in 2010. And even the industry-funded Cosmetic Ingredient Review panel has called the products unsafe.

One gets the feeling that if God Himself came down and declared the danger of Brazilian Blowout treatments, Mike Brady would show up to deny the facts.

Well, no longer, thanks to the good folks at the California Attorney General’s office. Unfortunately, due to the limits of state law, the best the AG’s lawsuit could achieve was warning labels and accurate Material Safety Data Sheets — a righteous and all-too-obvious step forward, but sadly, the products will still be on the market, and salon workers will still be breathing in unsafe toxic exposures.

So why can’t the U.S. get these products off the shelves, as Canada and Europe have done? Lame federal laws from 1938 that give the FDA almost no authority to regulate cosmetics, and what little authority they do have, they don’t seem to be willing to use. It’s time to give cosmetics regulations a makeover — as we’ve been saying! — and a good place to start is the Safe Cosmetics Act, introduced into the US House last summer by the good Congresspeople Jan Schakowsky, Ed Markey and Tammy Baldwin. Stay tuned for news about this soon, and it may not be good.

Meantime, the National Healthy Nail and Beauty Salon Alliance is inviting hair stylists to write about their experiences with Brazilian Blowout at this link.

Here’s more recent news about toxic cosmetics:
Washington Post:
Soaps, makeup contain deadly ingredients, say consumer advocates
Lotions, washes with fewer ingredients and synthetic chemicals may be better

Forbes: Brazilian Blowout legally labeled carcinogenic, but will it matter?

This just in: See me on CBS News Morning Show

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