Those smooth, straight locks promised by expensive salon applications of a product called Brazilian Blowout sound like a dream come true for many women. In actuality, Brazilian Blowout products recently tested by Oregon OSHA and Health Canada were as much as 8 to 12 percent formaldehyde.
Formaldehyde is a known human carcinogen. While we don't have evidence of a breast cancer connection, formaldehyde is linked to leukemia, lung cancer, nasal cancer, asthma, miscarriage and other serious or life-threatening health problems. Even the cosmetics industry's own safety panel recommends formaldehyde concentration in cosmetics not to exceed 0.2 percent.
Though the governments of Canada and Ireland were quick to act on the Brazilian Blowout tests, the U.S. FDA hasn't done a thing. On Tuesday our Campaign for Safe Cosmetics launched a public effort to convince the FDA to issue a voluntary recall (the agency can't issue a mandatory recall under current law) of Brazilian Blowout products.
And yesterday the California Attorney General's office filed a lawsuit against California-based Brazilian Blowout for violating Prop. 65 and falsely claiming its products to be "safe" and even labeling some "formaldehyde free."
According to California Watch, the lawsuit also "marks the first time the state has sued to enforce reporting requirements under its safe cosmetics law, a novel system requiring cosmetics makers to submit reports about harmful chemicals."
That "novel" law was the California Safe Cosmetics Act of 2005, the Breast Cancer Fund's first major victory in our work for safe cosmetics. Today we're cheering that the law that we - and you - helped pass is, in turn, helping California protect its citizens.
Now, five years later, we have our sights set on passing the federal Safe Cosmetics Act of 2010, which will protect all Americans from toxic products like Brazilian Blowout. In the meantime, join our recall effort!