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Steven Davis
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Cosmetic Industry Speaks on Formaldehyde – Will the FDA Listen?

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For the first time, the mainstream cosmetics industry has declared formaldehyde unsafe at any level in hair straighteners.

As a result of a meeting this week, the Cosmetic Ingredient Review panel, an unbiased scientific advisory board established by the major American cosmetics manufacturers, has declared that formaldehyde and methylene glycol are unsafe for use in hair smoothing products the use of which involves application of high temperatures – i.e. the Brazilian Blowout Service.

Although the FDA publicly admonished Brazilian Blowout, the FDA stopped short of banning all formaldehyde in hair services. GIB, LLC ("GIB"), the company behind Brazilian Blowout, has not complied with the FDA warning, but, instead, is fighting the charges with a public relations attack, using stylists to contact the FDA on their behalf, U.S. Rep. Early Blumenauer urged GIB to voluntarily pull the product from the market. Responding to Rep. Blumenauer’s request, Mike Brady, President of GIB LLC responded:

We’re going to continue to offer a product that gives people the hair of their life

And, if GIB is allowed to continue to offer it, the likelihood is that despite the FDA warnings, the product will continue to sell. Thomas Cluderay of the Environmental Working Group explains:

The incentive to downplay mounting health concerns is substantial when you can charge several hundred dollars for a single treatment. Until regulators pull the plug on Brazilian Blowout, I think it’s clear the company is prepared to do just about anything to peddle these products.

To date, makers of Brazilian Blowout have ignored warnings from the FDA, from OSHA, from the Cosmetics Ingredient Review, and from members of congress. Further FDA action is possible. Previously, the FDA noted that it would be “looking to the Cosmetic Ingredient Review Panel to get additional Information.” Now that the Review panel has declared the ingredients in Brazilian Blowout as unsafe, the next move seems to fall to the FDA.

Sources: Environmental Working Group, OregonLive.com, Cosmetic Ingredient Review Panel Agenda and Notes.