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Many people desire straight hair. The Brazilian blowout, a popular hair treatment, was supposed to be the perfect answer for those seeking to straighten their curls. However, things haven’t turned out quite as expected. The Brazilian blowout is supposed to straighten hair for up to 12 weeks without harsh chemicals. But that has not been the case, as people have reported symptoms such as nosebleeds, eye irritation and breathing problems from the hair treatment. In fact, the treatment is now under investigation in Oregon and the subject of a lawsuit in California. It has also been recalled in Ireland and sales have been halted in Canada.

Tests on the Brazilian blowout solution have revealed that formaldehyde, a chemical known to cause cancer, is contained among its contents. This is contrary to the description on the bottle. The bottle promises that the produce is formaldehyde free. Oregon’s OSHA investigated the product after receiving complaints about the symptoms mentioned above and found the product to contain, on average, nearly 9% formaldehyde. Michael Wood from Oregon OSHA said, “Formaldehyde is a hazardous chemical. It is dangerous. There are specific steps employers need to take when they’re using it at their workplace.”

The makers of product however, have disputed the formaldehyde findings. The company has issued several statements on its website questioning the testing methods. It has pointed to a test done in salons during Brazilian blowout treatments that found the amount of formaldehyde released was at permissible levels. The company claims that test results prove that the Brazilian blowout is safe.

Wood however, disagreed with the company’s assessment. He said, “There are some people who think that if you’re below the permissible exposure limit then that means you’re safe. That’s really a misunderstanding of what a permissible exposure limit is. It’s the level at which you’re clearly in a danger zone.”

Clearly, there are big question marks surrounding the Brazilian blowout. The test results are in dispute, but the symptoms reported by users of the product cannot be ignored. Formaldehyde is an extremely dangerous chemical and should not be taken lightly. Straight hair is important to countless individuals, but until more information is known, is the treatment really worth the risk?

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