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California Attorney General’s Office Says Brazilian Blowout Products Violate California Air Quality Law, Must be Removed from Marketplace

Company violates agreement with State of California

For immediate release:
October 22, 2012

Contact:
Jamie Silberberger, 406-543-3747, 406-531-1811 (cell), jamies@womensvoices.org

Los Angeles—The California attorney general is asking a Superior Court in Los Angeles to order the manufacturers of Brazilian Blowout hair straightening solution, GIB, LLC (GIB) to stop selling its product in California. According to the attorney general’s court papers, testing by three different laboratories shows that GIB’s hair straightening product violates California air quality law and emits smog-forming pollutants at levels higher than allowed by the California Air Resources Board. Formaldehyde, a human carcinogen, is a major ingredient in Brazilian Blowout.

“Brazilian Blowout continues to expose salon workers across the U.S. to cancer-causing chemicals, and now the product has also been shown to violate California’s air pollution standards,” said Jamie Silberberger, on behalf of the National Healthy Nail and Beauty Salon Alliance. “This company believes it’s above the law – it’s time to pull Brazilian Blowout from the market.”

In a previous settlement agreement with California Attorney General Kamala Harris’s office, GIB agreed to stop deceptively advertising the product as formaldehyde-free and put caution stickers on their product advising users that it releases carcinogenic formaldehyde gas. The company also agreed to participate in further testing to evaluate whether its Brazilian Blowout product violated California air quality laws and reformulate its product if it were found in violation.

Despite three independent laboratory tests showing it releases high levels of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) and in violation of its agreement with the State of California, GIB has refused to either reformulate Brazilian Blowout or remove it from the marketplace. According to the California Air Resources Board, VOCs are an important component in the formation of ground level ozone, a major part of California’s smog problem. The Board’s air quality standards require that Brazilian Blowout contain no more than six percent VOCs by weight. Testing by two independent labs approved by the company, and testing by the Board, found Brazilian Blowout contained between 8.1 percent and 11.49 percent of regulated VOCs by weight.

“We applaud the attorney general for vigorously pursuing an action against this manufacturer who evidently believes it can ignore the law without repercussion. It just doesn’t make sense to us that a cosmetic product should ever contain formaldehyde, a known carcinogen and respiratory irritant.  But It’s reassuring thatBrazilian Blowout, due to violating air quality laws, might soon no longer be around to harm consumers and hair salon workers in California,” said Catherine Porter with the National Healthy Nail and Beauty Salon Alliance.

Stylists who regularly perform Brazilian Blowout treatments are exposed to formaldehyde gas at levels well in excess of the state’s Proposition 65 warning threshold, according to the California AG’s lawsuit.

“As a hairstylist that has been seriously affected by Brazilian Blowout, I know firsthand just how dangerous this product is. Getting Brazilian Blowout off the shelves will be a big win for salon workers who have suffered irreparable health problems due to exposure to this product,” said California salon worker Jennifer Arce.

The California attorney general’s office has asked the California Superior Court to order GIB to cease all sales of Brazilian Blowout within 30 days of the court issuing its order.

Brazilian Blowout has been banned in Canada and at least four other countries, including Germany, France, Ireland and Australia, but is still allowed to be sold in the U.S. The federal Safe Cosmetics Act, introduced into the U.S. House of Representatives in July 2011 by Reps. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.) would ban chemicals known to cause cancer from cosmetics, as many other countries have already done.

The National Healthy Nail and Beauty Salon Alliance is encouraging people who have experienced health symptoms after being exposed to Brazilian Blowout-style hair straighteners to write letters to the Food and Drug Administration through this website:
http://bit.ly/zEFMXB

The Alliance has been joined by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics in asking the FDA to remove Brazilian Blowout products from the marketplace and to ban formaldehyde from all hair products.

More info: http://www.womensvoices.org/campaigns/brazilian-blowout/

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Founded in 2007, the National Healthy Nail and Beauty Salon Alliance (Alliance) works to increase the health, safety, and rights of salon workers by reducing toxic chemical exposure and engaging in strategic movement building, policy advocacy, and media efforts nationwide.  The Alliance is a joint project of Women’s Voices for the Earth (WVE), the California Healthy Nail Salon Collaborative (the Collaborative), and the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF).

October 22, 2012