Straight and Silky or Toxic and Dangerous?

Although there is a blizzard outside here at UMass (the first since Halloween), spring is approaching! That means hello humidity! …time for many of us to keep our hair nice and tamed. While some of us embrace the curls and others reach for the hair straightener, some go into the hair salon to get Brazilian Keratin Treatment.

While this treatment may seemingly make your life a lot easier, it may actually be hurting your health. Many Brazilian Keratin Hair Treatments are known to have high levels of formaldehyde. Five months ago the Federal Government put out a hazard alert regarding formaldehyde levels in liquid Brazilian Keratin Treatments.

ABC News recently visited 16 salons that expressed no safety concerns. Twelve said their products contained little formaldehyde while four were not aware that their products contained it at all. Today the bottles contain a warning to stylists and recommend the product be used in well-ventilated areas. OSHA recently reported that there are several brands that do not list formaldehyde in the ingredients. OSHA has a list of “synonyms” some brands may be using:

  • Methylene glycol
  • Formalin
  • Methylene oxide
  • Paraform
  • Formic aldehyde
  • Methanal
  • Oxomethane
  • Oxymethylene
  • Timonacic acid
  • Thiazolidinecarboxylic acid

Why should you be worried about formaldehyde in your hair treatment? Over a year ago, the Chicago Tribune reported on the dangers of formaldehyde saying there is no safe level of exposure. Hairstylists have complained of nosebleeds, breathing problems, and eye irritation. Even at low concentrations, the gaseous form of formaldehyde (like when heated to 450 degrees for keratin treatment) is a carcinogen and has links with cancer.

So embrace those curls, love your hair and protect your breasts!


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