For seven months we have watched GIB LLC market their popular “Brazilian Blowout” product as “formaldehyde-free” while simultaneously being investigated by the FDA, OSHA, California’s Attorney General, and Oregon OSHA for exposing stylists and users to that same harmful chemical.
Although there was no public action taken in response to the FDA warning letter issued on August 22, 2011, it will be hard for GIB LLC to ignore the effect that the two most recent blows will have.
On January 30, 2012, GIB LLC settled a lawsuit filed by California’s attorney general who accused the maker of Brazilian Blowout of deceptive advertising since the solutions were not formaldehyde-free, although the labels indicated they were. The settlement required the company to make changes to its website and to pay a fine of $600,000.
Pursuant to the settlement, the website now includes safety sheets for each of the Brazilian Blowout products, but there now appears to be less news regarding the controversy. In the past, the Brazilian Blowout website included a note stating that the company was “working directly with the FDA to help clear up the controversy.” That note is now gone. Although there have been lots of articles regarding the formaldehyde controversy lately, the Brazilian Blowout press webpage only includes articles from fashion magazines, and no mention of the company’s action (or inaction) regarding this issue.
The second blow comes in the form of a class action settlement. The settlement of $4.5 million will be shared by consumers harmed by the products. Each eligible consumer will receive $35 for each treatment and $75 for each bottle of the product purchased.
The question that we asked in September 2011still bothers us today: where are the stylists and hair care workers harmed from repeated exposure to Brazilian Blowout treatments? Do they trust the company that is now paying for its deception to protect them? Perhaps injured workers will step forward once Brazilian Blowout is blown up and blown out. Will it be too late?