Brazilian Blowout has released a misleading statement declaring that, when tested, “exposure levels to cosmetologists and clients considered safe.” We’ll post the statement below, then I’ll take you through my analysis:
Independent salon air monitoring performed by one of California’s leading environmental safety companies, Health Science Associates (HSA), has concluded that Cosmetologists exposure levels are more than SIX times lower than OSHA’s most stringent and conservative standard for air quality safety.
On October 9, 2010, HSA performed a comprehensive Air Monitoring Study over an eight-hour period in a typical salon environment, while Cosmetologists performed multiple Brazilian Blowout professional smoothing treatments throughout the day. The table below details the results of their scientific testing.
Test Summary: The breathing air (breathing zone) of two licensed Cosmetologists was monitored while each performed two Brazilian Blowout Professional Smoothing Treatments in the same test salon, over the same eight-hour period. Their separate exposures to Formaldehyde gas in the air was determined to be 0.064 ppm and 0.073 ppm, which is well below OSHA’s most stringent requirements for an eight-hour period, called the eight-hour time weighted average (TWA).
What does this mean? The safest and most stringent level of exposure set by Federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is called the OSHA Action Limit and is even more conservative than their “Permissible Exposure Limit” (PEL).
The OSHA Action limit is 0.5 ppm, therefore, these two Cosmetologist’s exposures were more than six times below OSHA’s most conservative measure for safety where the potential for formaldehyde gas exposure is concerned.
Conclusion: These levels indicate that OSHA safe levels of exposure are NOT exceeded.
I have no problem with the testing itself. From what I can gather, HSA is a reputable company and I’m sure their testing methods were absolutely above board.
However, everything in this test hinges upon one singular thing: the bottle of Brazilian Blowout solution itself.
Let’s review: bottles of Brazilian Blowout solution have been found in both the US and Canada that were labelled formaldehyde-free and yet which contained 8%, 10%, 12%, etc. formaldehyde. This is an undisputed fact . Whether all bottles of Brazilian Blowout contain formaldehyde at those varying levels of significance is to be determined.
Brazilian Blowout is spinning all manner of paranoid conspiracy theories: there’s a witch hunt, other companies are jealous, bottles were tampered with, Oregon-OSHA should have obtained the bottles directly from them, etc.
But let’s put ourselves on Brazilian Blowout’s side for one second while considering this test. You’re about to perform a test with a reputable agency to determine whether stylists are being exposed to carcinogenic levels of formaldehyde…and you also know that there absolutely exist out there in random salons bottles containing formaldehyde up to 12%. Even if every single bottle found to contain formaldehyde at those levels was a sheer fluke–maybe a faulty batch once went out, maybe some bottles were erroneously labeled formaldehyde-free and then sent to salons–and every other bottle of Brazilian Blowout on the market is indeed formaldehyde-free (eye roll), would you risk HSA testing bottles that, oops!, were part of that anomaly? No. You know there are formaldehyde-containing bottles out there and you’re not going to chance it.
I’d wager these were brand-new bottles tested, provided directly by Brazilian Blowout to HSA–under the guise of “professionalism” to “prove” that the bottles hadn’t been tampered with by evil salons, money-grubbing CEOs of other companies, ax-grinding journalists, Al Qaeda, etc.
As multiple samples have been taken from multiple salons in two countries, it is a fact that Brazilian Blowout does, indeed, have many bottles out there which contain formaldehyde and yet are labeled formaldehyde-free. (Can I hammer this point home enough?)
This test does not prove that salon operators around the country and Canada are safe. What it does prove is that the bottles used in this testing–and this testing alone–either didn’t contain formaldehyde or contained very low levels.
One problem, though: those fresh bottles aren’t what’s on the market at your corner salon to be performed on nursing women, those with “hyde” allergies, and health-savvy consumers who understand the risks of formaldehyde exposure at this level. You know what is on the market? Bottles marked formaldehyde-free containing formaldehyde levels at 8%, 10%, 12% etc.
No. What pisses me off about this story is if Brazilian Blowout contains formaldehyde and they’re lying about it.
I’d like to have some accountability from this company explaining how bottles have flooded the market labelled formaldehyde-free yet which contain 10% formaldehyde. What about the stylists who have been performing Brazilian Blowouts using the bottles that did contain 10% formaldehyde? How are their exposure levels?
That’s the story: a company deciding they’d corner the market by passing themselves off as formaldehyde-free–not a theoretical breakdown of the safety levels of pristine, no doubt formaldehyde-free bottles.