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Formaldehyde in Hair Care Products Presents Health Risks to Employees

Posted by Shivi Kakar

Aug 21, 2013 12:37:00 PM

OSHA Fact Sheet

A recent OSHA Fact Sheet - Formaldehyde in hair care products found that stylists in three different salons were using Brazilian Blowout Acai Professional Smoothing Solution or Cadiveu Brasil Cacau were being exposed to dangerous levels of formaldehyde. In one salon, tests showed that in the blow drying process, levels were five times the limit set by OSHA. The salons were given citations and two received fines for failure to protect workers from the health hazards of formaldehyde exposure. OSHA gave out other fines and citations for salons that failed to test the air and determine the level of formaldehyde exposure and protect workers properly with training and information on the health hazards and symptoms of exposure.

After air  and product testing, OSHA and the USFDA both issued warnings and citations to smoothing product manufacturers for violating labeling laws.

In October 2011, the consulting firm ChemRisk, LLC published a study in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene that also found that some hair-smoothing products, including some labeled “formaldehyde-free”, contain formaldehyde and could expose workers and customers to formaldehyde at levels above OSHA's short term exposure limit (STEL)

Formaldehyde can enter your system by inhalation, getting on your skin, in your eyes, or in your mouth. Exposure to formaldehyde is known to cause cancer. It can also irritate and damage eyes to the point of causing blindness. It can bring on nose irritation, even bloody noses. Skin sensitivity, rashes, itching, and breathing difficulties such as coughing and wheezing. Symptoms will worsen as the level of exposure goes up.

Formaldehyde containing products should be avoided. If a salon owner decides to use products containing the chemical, they must take steps to protect their workers' safety, including testing formaldehyde levels in the air during use, supplying proper ventilation, making correct personal safety equipment available and training workers on the hazards of formaldehyde.

There are stiff penalties for noncompliance. 

For more information on this and other environmental concerns, contact us

Topics: Emilcott, formaldehyde in hair care products, OSHAs short term exposure limit (STEL)

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