It started with red, burning eyes, headaches and chronic sinus congestion. And then, during the 10 months I was applying keratin hair-straightening treatments on the clients in my salon, my health progressively got worse. I had persistent respiratory infections. Painful blisters appeared in my nose which would scab over, and never went away. One night, I could barely breathe.
It's been more than a year and a half since I stopped using Brazilian Blowouts on my clients, and I still carry an inhaler for asthma symptoms caused by these treatments. And, even though I love my job, I might have to end my career as a stylist because of these health problems.
When the salon where I work first started offering Brazilian Blowouts, I was really excited to offer a treatment to my clients that made their hair smooth, shiny, and frizz-free. I had heard there was formaldehyde in the product, but I assumed if the United States Food and Drug Administration allowed the product on the market, I shouldn't be worried. And these treatments had been getting more and more popular, so I assumed it was OK.
Since getting sick, I've learned a lot about the health problems caused by Brazilian Blowouts -- and I cannot believe the FDA hasn't done more to keep people safe. I had no idea that cosmetics are "self regulated," or that the FDA cannot recall a cosmetic product, unless it is deemed "dangerous."
The FDA has already determined these treatments cause health problems like mine. In August of 2011, the FDA sent a warning letter to the manufacturer saying Brazilian Blowouts are violative, "adulterated" and "misbranded." Now, Brazilian Blowout bottles have a warning label. But when people go to the salon to get hair treatments, they rarely see labels on bottles. Just putting a warning label isn't enough.
Canada, Australia, and the European Union have already banned formaldehyde-based treatments. The US is lagging -- and many people are sick because of it.
I've heard from clients with blisters, nose bleeds, hair loss, and respiratory problems from these treatments. What's worse, after the initial exposure in the salon, every time hair is heated, toxic fumes are released in the environment again and again. In fact, California recently ordered Brazilian Blowout off the market for violating the state's air quality laws, but this product is still available throughout the rest of the country.
It's time for the FDA to do their job and protect American consumers from dangerous products like Brazilian Blowout. Please join me in urging the FDA to finally take action and remove Brazilian Blowout and other formaldehyde-based treatments permanently from the market nationwide.