For years we have worked to raise awareness about harmful chemicals used in salon products, and their impact on salon workers' health. Now, during this crisis, our thoughts are with salon workers whose livelihood, like so many others, has been impacted by the pandemic.
The Food and Drug Administration has failed to act on dangerous hair straighteners that contain unsafe levels of formaldehyde and pose a significant health hazard to consumers and salon workers, the Environmental Working Group and Women’s Voices for the Earth allege in a motion filed July 28 in federal district court. The motion is part of the groups' lawsuit against the FDA for its failure to act on a six-year-old petition requesting an investigation into popular hair smoothing treatments that are still sold in stores and salons. These straighteners – often known as keratin treatments or by the name of one prominent brand, Brazilian Blowout – contain formaldehyde, a known human carcinogen and potent allergen.
Even if you are not a regular salon-goer yourself, this first-of-its-kind legislation has the power to drastically improve the health, and human rights of salon workers in California, and eventually, hopefully, throughout the nation.
Working long hours for uncertain and often substandard pay, salon workers are also exposed to highly toxic chemicals linked to respiratory ailments, cancer, miscarriage and more.
As far back as 2011 the FDA has known that keratin hair straightening products can release dangerous levels of formaldehyde putting stylists (and their client’s) health at risk.