Published January 31, 2012
The maker of a popular line of hair-straightening products has agreed to alert consumers that two of its formulations emit formaldehyde gas, a possible carcinogen, California's attorney general announced.
The labeling changes are designed to settle a lawsuit the state filed in November against the company that makes Brazilian Blowout products, which have been a boon for those who dislike their naturally curly tresses but a source of health concerns.
The products are applied during salon treatments and coupled with high heat to temporarily smooth the hair shaft.
The attorney general's office had accused North Hollywood-based GIB LLC of deceptive advertising because Brazilian Blowout Acai Smoothing Solution and Brazilian Blowout Professional Smoothing Solution were labeled as being free of formaldehyde, which can irritate the eyes, skin and lungs.
"California laws protect consumers and workers and give them fair notice about the health risks associated with the products they use," Attorney General Kamala Harris said in a statement. "This settlement requires the company to disclose any hazard so that Californians can make informed choices."
The company also agreed to pay $600,000 in penalties and fines for failing to notify consumers and hair stylists that its products contain chemicals that may cause cancer, and to have the products tested for all toxic substances at a state-approved lab.
As part of the settlement GIB also will be required to supply salons with a pamphlet outlining recommended safety precautions.
The company already has made the necessary labeling and marketing changes, and Brazilian Blowout products still will be available in California, GIB Chief Executive Officer Mike Brady said.
"We believe the settlement reached with Attorney General Harris represents a fair and equitable resolution," Brady said in a statement. "We are pleased to have this matter behind us and are confident these new practices will provide certified stylists who use our products each day and their loyal customers clarity and confidence."
Brazilian Blowout is a brand of keratin hair smoothers that first were popularized in Brazil but have been available in U.S. salons for several years. Both the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration have been investigating the products, which also sparked a class-action lawsuit on behalf of consumers in California last year.