• October 22, 2020
  • EWG

Timeline: The FDA’s Failure to Regulate ‘Brazilian Blowout’ Hair Treatments


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For more than a decade, the Food and Drug Administration and the cosmetics industry have known that keratin hair-smoothing treatments – commonly called “Brazilian blowout” treatments – release unsafe amounts of formaldehyde into the air, putting consumers and salon workers at risk. Emails obtained by EWG reveal that in 2015 and 2016, FDA scientists urged the agency to move forward with a ban and grew frustrated with the slow pace of regulation. Four years later, the products remain legal.

1984 The Cosmetic Ingredient Review, or CIR, publishes its first safety review of formaldehyde and finds: “It cannot be concluded that formaldehyde is safe in cosmetic products intended to be aerosolized.” CIR was created and funded by the cosmetics industry’s largest trade association, the Personal Care Products Council.

2003 CIR re-reviewed formaldehyde and confirmed its 1984 conclusions. In 2006, the finding was published in the International Journal of Toxicology.

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