A public alert has been issued over concerns raised by Portland-area hair salons about a product used for hair straightening, which could have negative health impacts.
Oregon Health and Science University's Centre for Research on Occupational and Environmental Toxicology (CROET) has issued two public alerts describing its findings on the health impacts that Brazilian Blowout, a hair-straightening agent, could cause.
Tests revealed that the product contained amounts of formaldehyde considered 'unsafe'. If a product used in a workplace contains more than 0.1 percent formaldehyde, OSHA requires the manufacturer to list it and address safe work practices on the material safety data sheet accompanying the product.
The formaldehyde standard includes requirements for employers to ensure that no employee is exposed to an airborne concentration of formaldehyde that exceeds 0.75 parts formaldehyde per millionin an eight-hour period.
"According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, formaldehyde can produce a variety of effects, including immediate irritation of eyes, skin, nose and upper respiratory tract, cough, chest pain, shortness of breath and wheezing," explained Dede Montgomery, an occupational safety and health specialist and certified industrial hygienist at CROET.
"The major concerns of repeated formaldehyde exposure are sensitization, which is similar to an allergic condition, and asthma in those who have been previously sensitized to formaldehyde. Additionally, the Department of Health and Human Services has determined that formaldehyde may reasonably be anticipated to be a carcinogen," said Montgomery.
"Based on the information we have received to date, we felt that additional public notification is required," said R. Stephen Lloyd, Ph.D., interim director of CROET and a senior scientist at the center.