OSHA revises formaldehyde alert for hair salons

September 28, 2011

Washington – OSHA on Sept. 22 issued a revised hazard alert warning hair salon owners and workers about the potential for formaldehyde exposure from certain hair smoothing and straightening products.

The revised alert includes a notice to salon owners that they must follow the requirements of OSHA’s Formaldehyde Standard if using products that contain or release formaldehyde. The alert also specifies what information must be listed on the Material Safety Data Sheets for such products.

The revision was prompted by an Aug. 22 warning letter from the Food and Drug Administration to the distributer of Brazilian Blowout Acai Professional Smoothing Solution, stating that the product is incorrectly labeled as “formaldehyde-free” and does not list formaldehyde on the MSDS.

OSHA investigations have found hazardous levels of formaldehyde at salons using the products. However, in an Aug. 24 letter to salon owners, Brazilian Blowout said OSHA tests showed the levels were below the exposure limits. OSHA responded with a letter (.pdf file) to the company refuting those claims.

Formaldehyde is a cancer hazard and can irritate the eyes, nose, skin and lungs.