Internationally Known Scientist/Chemist, Doug Schoon, Speaks Out About The Hair Smoothing Controversy

Ask Doug Schoon what he thinks about the recent Hair Smoothing controversy and he’ll say the following, which may be freely quoted, posted or distributed:

I’m a scientist and chemist that has been researching and writing about salon product safety for over 20 years and have studied the use of Formalin in cosmetics and personal care products. I’ve been researching Formalin containing hair smoothing products for almost two years and am considered a leading expert on this subject. In light of all of the misinformation, worry and confusion, I believe it is important to provide information that might help to clarify the situation.

The 15 things I believe the public should know about this controversy:

1. In general, “hair/keratin smoothing products” use Formalin as the functional ingredient. Formalin treatments provide the superior results and provides services that last up to three to four months.

2. Formaldehyde is a GAS, not a Liquid. Formalin is a generic name for a substance that contains 59% Methylene Glycol and 0.0466% Formaldehyde, mixed in water with a small amount of Methanol to prevent the Methylene Glycol (which is a Liquid) from converting into a solid polymer.

3. A change accepted in late 2008 and published in the International Nomenclature of Cosmetics Dictionary (INCI), 2010 edition, corrects the error in previous editions and now recognizes Formalin by its correct name, Methylene Glycol, making this the name manufacturers will be using to label cosmetic products containing Formalin.

4. Products containing 5% Formalin (or less) contain less than 0.0025% Formaldehyde. The reason Oregon OSHA (and others) quote a much higher percentages is: The test methods they use actually measure both Methylene Glycol and Formaldehyde together as though they were one chemical, and do not report them separately, or use their proper chemical names. A “10% Formaldehyde” report from Oregon OSHA would be scientifically correct if it reported 9.96% Methylene Glycol and 0.04% Formaldehyde instead.

5. Why is Oregon OSHA taking this stance? They cite regulations which repeat the 100+ year old misunderstanding that Formalin is nothing more than dissolved Formaldehyde, which is chemically and scientifically incorrect. Methylene Glycol is a unique and different chemical substance and Oregon OSHA knows this to be true, but is required by regulations to call Methylene Glycol by the incorrect chemical name, Formaldehyde.

6. Science has known about this chemical identity crisis for over 35 years. In 1972 the American Chemical Society gave Methylene Glycol and Formaldehyde two separate and unique registry numbers (CAS#) to recognize them as two different chemicals. Federal OSHA should require Methylene Glycol and Formaldehyde to be measured and reported separately, which would help avoid confusion and provide for a better understanding of these two separate and unique chemical substances.

7. Why do I believe this misunderstanding should be corrected? Confusion created by this long held misunderstanding is causing medical, environmental and other scientific researchers around the world to be misled. For example, researchers often perform scientific studies with 37% Formalin and are misled to believe it is 37% Formaldehyde, when in fact its 0.0466% Formaldehyde and mostly Methylene Glycol, Methanol and Water. This makes researchers more likely to report erroneous information and draw incorrect conclusions, which in turn, can prevent the proper study of Methylene Glycol.

8. When Formalin containing hair smoothing products are heated, they can release low levels of Formaldehyde gas. The limited salon studies I have performed over the last 18 months have indicated that inhalation exposure levels are within the Federal OSHA safe limits. Even so, sensitive individuals may experience acute (short term) symptoms such as irritated eyes or skin, headaches, difficulty breathing, sore throat and/or nausea, even at levels considered safe by Federal OSHA guidelines. Safe and proper use largely depend on the salon ventilation, as well as, cosmetologists’ product control and application procedures. Cosmetologists sometimes apply far too much product to the hair, which unnecessarily increases inhalation exposure, while wasting product and money.

9. The safety of these types of products and services is currently being examined by the FDA and OSHA. They will look at the results obtained by monitoring cosmetologists’ and clients’ exposure to Formaldehyde gas in salon air. This type of testing is proper and accurate and will address the real issue: What are the levels of exposure for clients, cosmetologists, and other salon workers? This information is needed before any final conclusions can be reached. I have great respect for OSHA, their mission and work. I am convinced that they will provide valuable information to help determine if levels of Formaldehyde in salon air are safe. I would expect this information to be released over the coming weeks.
10. Yes, there is a Safe Level for exposure to Formaldehyde and this substance is NOT automatically harmful at any concentration. Both Methylene Glycol and Formaldehyde is a natural, organic substance normally found in trace amounts in many foods, e.g. pears, apples, tomatoes, radishes, cabbage, carrots, green onions, meat, fish and shellfish. They are also naturally found in human blood and breath and both can be found naturally in organically grown foods and traces of Formaldehyde exists even in the purest mountain air.

11. In general, one or two, or even a million molecules aren’t likely to cause harm, since the potential for harm is caused by prolonged and/or repeated overexposure to unsafe levels; usually over an extended period of time. Less frequent exposures are less likely to result in harm or injury. Controlling the amount of exposure, e.g. proper ventilation, lowers exposure, lessens the risks and improves safety. Even so, persons with a previous history of allergic sensitivity to Formalin or Formaldehyde may adversely react with one exposure. Therefore, individuals who have or suspect allergic sensitivities should NOT receive or perform these services.

12. My (limited) experience with testing the air in salons over the last 18 months leads me to believe that a well-ventilated salon, performing two or three hair smoothing treatments per day will not exceed the Federal OSHA safe levels for Formaldehyde gas.

13. Cosmetologist and client safety can further be improved by using proper ventilation. The most useful type is called “chemical source capture” or “local” ventilation, meaning these devices pull much of the vapors into an overhanging hood, down a flexible tube, and through at least a 3 inch bed of activated charcoal to absorb a sizeable amount of Formaldehyde and lower exposure. Such systems can also be designed to safely ventilate to the outdoors.

14. Even salons that do not perform these types of hair smoothing treatments should still always use proper ventilation. Other services also create vapors, mists and dusts which must be controlled. I have evaluated and recommend the source capture system sold by Aerovex Systems, Inc. I suspect that similar systems on the market may also be effective, but I haven’t evaluated them.

15. Cosmetologists should always wear impervious gloves, e.g. nitrile gloves, to help avoid the potential for adverse skin reactions from accidental skin contact to Formalin containing products. Safety eye protection equipment should be worn to prevent accidental eye exposure. Read and understand ALL warnings provided by the manufacturer, including the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) and call to ask the company questions.
Fair Disclosure: I do not have any commercial interest in selling products containing Formalin (Methylene Glycol), nor do I derive any profit from the sale of Formalin containing products. I provide scientific assistance to many cosmetic/personal care/beauty companies, some of whom sell Formalin containing products, as well as work with governments, associations and advocacy groups on cosmetic/personal care related matters.

This document is not intended to be a complete or comprehensive guide. If you experience significant problems which you believe may be related to these treatments, you should seek the advice of a qualified medical doctor.

For more information please contact:
Doug Schoon, M.S. Chemistry
President, Schoon Scientific
Dana Point, CA.

Note from Editor: We are waiting on a statement from Oregon OSHA regarding this topic as well.

UPDATE: The Oregon division of OSHA responded to our request for a comment, “We’ll have a comprehensive report later this week or early next week.”

We look forward to reading the report, as I’m sure all of you will!

Related posts:


TAMMY GIBSON, founder of A Mom in Red High Heels, is a God-loving, coffee-drinking, heel-wearing, wife and mom offering up her best tips to help women look and feel fabulous so they can achieve their biggest dreams.


  1. As I have stated before. Don’t jump to conclusions until you hear the whole story. I am betting money that OSHA screwed up. Would be no surprise to me if a government agency screwed something up. It would not be the first time and will not be the last. Looks like the product may contain trace formaldehyde, but at levels that are safe for most people. Obviously, sensitive people, as stated should avoid the product. So now, it’s probably not going to be any worst than getting a perm or your hair bleached and colored! The story is not over folks…..just wait for the hammer to fall on OSHA!!

  2. antony white

    Yeah wait wait.
    I bet you the hammer will fall on BB.
    So you really believe that the whole world is making a mistake and only Dough Shoon is right??
    I don`t think is a possibility.
    I also want to add that BB said before that they do not have ANY METHYLEN GLYCOL IN IT.

    DO YOU REMEMBER??????????

  3. Antony, it is so obvious you have a hidden agenda seeing BB fail. Your many post just scream it. lol I put all my money that BB will shine through from all this and WHEN they do, I hope you’re still here so I can see how spitting angry you get. haha

  4. Remember these chemicals contained in BB are not on the label which is required!! WHY? to Amanda above that states, “I’m betting money OSHA screwed up,”..I doubt you took time to read the lab reports from the Canadian Gov., OSHA, and several other labs that have run air and product tests. So, one person who is a consultant comes along to dispute the evidence, and you want to tell everyone it is looks like its levels are “safe for most people???” First, Mr. Schoon is apparently the paid consultant to Brazilian Blowout, *involved with their testing), so should consumers and stylists be contacting him as the unbiased “expert???” He implies he knows better than OSHA’s scientists, and those at the Croet Lab, oh and the Canadian Government who all follow the internationally recognized testing protocoL, yet are all somehow wrong. (OSHA already released a second statement about the testing in response to BB saying their tests were wrong). As I look at the services Mr. Schoon provides on his website, most work seems to be for nail companies, or other cosmetic companies. I’m an educated onsumer, not a scientist, and as a consumer I think a few of his statements raise obvious questions.. He stated::

    “Yes, there is a Safe Level for exposure to Formaldehyde and this substance is NOT automatically harmful at any concentration.” 0.1% IS WHAT IS ALLOWABLE AND CONSIDERED SAFE. THERE IS PLENTY OF EVIDENCE THAT STATES FORMALDEHYDE IS A CARCINOGEN, AND THERE ARE DOCUMENTED CASES OF NOSE CANCER ,Mr. Schoon himself stated in a Jan. 2010 article “Online postings about formaldehyde being an irritant and potential carcinogen are correct. It?s associated with nasal and brain cancer, according to the National Cancer Institute.”

    Mr. Schoon states he’s done limited air samples that “…”lead me to believe…” (they are safe levels)., YET ALL THE OTHER AGENCIES ABOVE FOUND UNSAFE LEVELS IN AIR SAMPLES.

    Shoon cautions, “Cosmetologists should always wear impervious gloves, e.g. nitrile gloves to help avoid the potential for adverse skin reactions from accidental skin contact to Formalin containing products.” SO THE COSMETOLOGIST SHOULD WEAR GLOVES, TO PROTECT FROM “ADVERSE SKIN REACTIONS,” BUT IT’S OK TO USE ON YOUR CLIENT ‘S HEAD AND PORES?.”

    SCHOON STATES, “persons with a previous history of allergic sensitivity to Formalin or Formaldehyde may adversely react with one exposure. Therefore, individuals who have or suspect allergic sensitivities should NOT receive or perform these”. I had red bumps on my scalp for a couple weeks after the treatment, along with hair loss, sore throat, and lungs that hurt. I have an excellent, well-trained stylist. That doesn’t matter if your using something dangerous that isn’t properly labeled . WHO THE HECK IS GOING TO KNOW AHEAD OF TIME THEY ARE SENSITIVE OR ALLERGIC TO FORMALIN, NOT TO MENTION IT SAYS “FORMALDEHYDE FREE???”
    Stylists and consumers should avoid using this stuff, and the other brands said to contain the formaldehyde, until more testing is done and you know with certainty they are safe!! Anything else, is just irresponsible in the name of profit!!

  5. IN TODAY’S NEWS: (10/11/10) Co-Director of dermatopathology, Cleveland Clinic said of the BB test results: : “These values are high … too high,” says Dr. Wilma F. Bergfeld, chairwoman of the Cosmetic Ingredient Review panel and co-director of dermatopathology at the Cleveland Clinic. “CIR has limited the concentration of free formaldehyde in cosmetics to less than two-tenths of 1% in topical products. CIR would not consider a product with those reported formaldehyde levels to be safe.”

    “While the issue is being sorted out, clients and stylists should know the symptoms and risks. Michael J. DiBartolomeis, head of the California Department of Public Health’s Safe Cosmetics Program, says short-term symptoms from breathing formaldehyde vapors include headache; watering, burning, irritated eyes; a severely irritated inner lining of the nose or a bloody nose; and restricted breathing, similar to an asthmatic attack. Longer-term exposure can cause reduced pulmonary function or lung damage and raises the risk of cancer” .

  6. I am very concerned that this site continues to publish information, without comment, from Doug Schoon. Someone who accepts consulting fees from the beauty industry simply cannot be considered unbiased or impartial when it comes to articles defending the beauty industry. This is basic first-year college research stuff folks – who are you getting your information from, and does that person have any affiliations that would bias or influence the information they are giving you?

    I see Amanda does not trust OSHA, or Health Canada. Personally, I’d rather get my information from someone who is working for me – like the government – instead of from someone who is working for someone who’s trying to sell me something. But, if you’re one of those government conspiracy types, why not contact the science department at your local university and request that someone senior in the science department review this information?

    Doug Schoon may own a snazzy website, and write attention-grabbing news releases, but he does not have a PHD in chemistry (at least according to his online resume). I would love to hear the opinion of someone who does.

  7. @Donna Your own statements contain several inaccuracies. What are your qualifications to know about labeling requirements and application of professional hair treatments? I use these examples because they are the most blatant areas of misinformation in your rant.

    1. Products for professional use are not required to list their ingredients.

    2. Why do you mention (disparagingly) that most of Schoon’s work is with nail salons and cosmetic purposes? This makes him an expert on the type of products he is commenting on…

    3. The various air samples taken are subject to many factors: the amount of product used (this is a big one as many people are over-applying the solution), the cubic feet of the area the treatment is being performed in, how many treatments are being performed in the same area at the same time, the ventilation of the area…

    4. The product should never be applied to the scalp (or “head” as you say) or skin. Stylists wear gloves because we need to have our hands in the hair while it is wet with the product. The client should be draped with a towel and cape (I also use plastic around the neck area) so that when the hair hangs down, it is not laying on their skin.

    5. Some salons and stylists are responsible, and have gone to great lengths (and expense) to make our environment safer for staff and clients. See if you are interested in seeing and reading about the system I use.

    If it is proven that BB (or any company) has labeled inaccurately, that is of course a problem that needs to be rectified. I personally think that stylist training should be expanded to include supervised application, and instruction on how to create an appropriate environment. Reported side effects should be listed on the site, as well as ingredients known to cause irritation in any significant number of people. It would be great if there were an accurate way to do an allergy test in advance.

    I completely respect anyone’s choice not to have (or perform) this treatment until the “air” is cleared, so to speak, but I do not appreciate the implication that we are just money-hungry at the expense of our clients’ health. And our own, BTW–stylists who work with these treatments on a regular basis have much more to worry about than clients who have them done 3-4 times per year. I hope that this investigation will lead to more free-slowing information and stronger precautions in salons, so the people who enjoy this treatment may continue to receive it.

  8. @Rachel You stated, “this site continues to publish information, without comment, from Doug Schoon.” What does this mean? Without comment from whom?

    You go on to question Schoon’s credentials because he ‘only’ has a Bachelor’s and a Master’s in Chemistry, and his motivation because he is paid to run tests. What does ‘independent researcher’ mean to you? Surely people would have trouble believing results of tests conducted in-house by the manufacturer, so they have contracted someone else, someone who is experienced in the field, to run tests.

    Do you expect him to do this for free? Of course not, but whoever pays him becomes suspect, so what is the answer?

    Would your local university perform these tests for free? Would they have the equipment to monitor the air quality, both with and without the Chemical Source Capture System that Schoon recommends?

    You don’t say in your post if you are a stylist, and/or a person who was considering a treatment. if you are a stylist, perhaps you will consider investing in an air filtration system; if you are a client, perhaps you can look for a salon that has one. Either way, I wish you the best.

    And remember…this is a choice, for stylists and clients. No one HAS to have it.

  9. @ Jordanna to address your points, and to the skeptics of the science facts :

    Jordanna asked: “Why do you mention (disparagingly) that most of Schoon’s work is with nail salons and cosmetic purposes? This makes him an expert on the type of products he is commenting on…” Donna: I mentioned his work (check his website) is primarily as an advocate for the cosmetic companies, not a consumer advocate, (the majority on Nail products-not hair). He makes his living this way. He was involved in the testing for BB in the U.S., so though he says he does not represent them, that’s not synonymous with “I’ve never accepted a consulting fee from them.” He claims he is not representing them, but he was quoted in their last news release. Generally, there are fees charged for providing an “expert” opinion, or doing news releases on behalf of the company as he has. s Mr. Schoon does not even have a PhD, yet he is re-defining what renown scientist and experts say about formaldehyde!!

    Jordanna: “The various air samples taken are subject to many factors: the amount of product used (this is a big one as many people are over-applying the solution), the cubic feet of the area the treatment is being performed in, how many treatments are being performed in the same area at the same time, the ventilation of the area…” “Some salons and stylists are responsible, and have gone to great lengths (and expense) to make our environment safer for staff and clients. See if you are interested in seeing and reading about the system I use.” Donna: The reputable scientist for OSHA and Health Canada found dangerous levels in the air samples at different salons. While a vent. System might help with harmful fumes, and I understand you are a strong proponent of these vent. Systems (You’ve blogged many times, and mention Aerovet on your website), and while as a consumer I appreciate you do what you can to provide ventilation in your salon, that isn’t the solution to the real issue here. Whether or not a company (BB or others), is using formaldehyde in illegal amounts is the issue, and that’s not OK-regardless of ventilation! I also find it very interesting that Mr. Schoon is seen on youtube promoting the Aerovet system. That seems quite unusual for an unbiased scientist. I wonder what his financial interest is there. Here’s the link:

    Jordanna: “Products for professional use are not required to list their ingredients.” Donna: “If a product used in a workplace contains more than 0.1 percent formaldehyde, OSHA requires the manufacturer to list it and address safe work practices on the material safety data sheet accompanying the product.” “OSHA’s Hazard Communication Standard also requires any employer with employees working with hazardous materials to provide effective training and accurate material safety data . “formaldehyde standard adopted by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration refers to both “formalin” and “methylene glycol” as synonyms for formaldehyde (specifically referencing formaldehyde in solution). The rule also makes it clear that certain steps are required whether formaldehyde is a gas, in solution or in materials that release formaldehyde. OSHA’s air monitoring found were also higher than exposure limits recommended by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and the American Conference of Government Industrial Hygienists. Such levels also would require disclosure on material safety data sheets accompanying the product.”

    Jordanna: “The product should never be applied to the scalp (or “head” as you say) or skin. Stylists wear gloves because we need to have our hands in the hair while it is wet with the product. The client should be draped with a towel and cape (I also use plastic around the neck area) so that when the hair hangs down, it is not laying on their skin.” Sorry, but you can’t prevent some of this product getting on the scalp, or being absorbed into the skin not only when it’s applied, but before you can wash your hair! “Formaldehyde is classified as a probable human carcinogen and mutagen. Formaldehyde is also corrosive and can severely irritate or damage the skin, mouth, eyes and throat. Formaldehyde may cause a skin allergy and an asthma-like allergy. Employers who expose employees to this chemical are subject to the OSHA Formaldehyde Standard requiring training, air monitoring, personal protective equipment to prevent exposure, and in some cases, medical surveillance. “

    Jordanna: If it is proven that BB (or any company) has labeled inaccurately, that is of course a problem that needs to be rectified…” A rep from BB says “There’s absolutely no way our solution [or any solution] could ever have formaldehyde in it because it’s a gas and would absolutely change composition if it came in contact with a liquid. And it certainly doesn’t have Methylene Glycol or formalin in it…We stand firm that our solution is “formaldehyde” / “methylene glycol” free. OSHA has our ingredient list filed in confidence and they are completely aware of how safe our solution is.” Donna: Look at the evidence here, Croet Lab where 16 out of 16 scientists are PhD’s!, Heath Canada, OSHA Oregon, and Proctor and Gamble PhD Scientists have all found high levels (many times above the accepted amount) of formaldehyde in this product!! Fredrick Fekai Salons removed BB from there salons as a result. “The California Bureau of Labor is investigating the Brazilian Blowout formula”, “Bureau of Labor has up to six months to perform its investigation “and will be very, very thorough.” The Department of Public Health in California is also investigating the matter to make sure no violation of the California Safe Cosmetics Act has been made, which requires manufacturers to report any ingredient that contains a chemical carcinogen.”

  10. antony white

    I am not here to see BB fall.
    It already did and you know what I am happy it did fall because they lied and they deserve
    to pay back all the money they made in this class action lawsuit that has already started.
    If I was you I would stop doing this treatment ASAP.
    Trust me is not good for you,nor for your clients.

  11. @Sean Thank you. It is nice to hear from another level-headed individual who wants to see and hear both sides if the story as it unfolds.

  12. That’s odd Antony. I just attended their Road Show in Pittsburgh.. 500+ attendees. I also called their offices and it’s business as usual for them. They said Cal-OSHA will release their results soon, and it will contradict Oregon & Health Canada’s findings. What then??? They also told me that they are no longer dealing with Cadiveu as a manufacturer and instead will have their products manufactured in California within an FDA certified facility and all bottles will be stamped with a certified OSHA seal of approval along with a list of ingredients. Sounds to me they’re not going anywhere.

  13. @ Dona Thank you for the plethora of quotes, some of which were actually what I was talking about…

    I hate to repeat myself, but since some of your statements are only adjacent to my points, I suppose I will.

    Dona slams Schoon for presumably being paid to test and report, and allow his quotes in said reports to be used by the company whose product he tested. As I asked above in reply to Rachel, do you expect a chemist to donate his time for this work? No? But anyone who accepts payment becomes suspect as being “paid off,” so what is the answer? Also, I don’t believe Schoon has claimed to be a consumer advocate, yet you seem offended by the fact that he’s case you’re not paying attention, the people most at risk here are the stylists who perform this service regularly, not the clients who have had it done once, or even those who repeat it every few months. i.e., ME, not you. Schoon’s area is salon safety, and since those of us who work there are exposed infinitely more, it goes to reason that what is strong enough to protect us, will also protect you. In the video you posted, it is shown how the air filtration system (which am not being paid to represent) helps protect both the stylist and the client.

    Dona jumps to defend the air quality tests that were done, without acknowledging that they did not take into account the amount of product used (overuse is common, but a blatant violation of protocol as taught even in the video training,) the size or ventilation of the room it is being done in, or the number of treatments being done simultaneously in a given area. It is only common sense that doing it in a closet-sized room in the back of a beauty supply will give a different air reading than doing it in a 1000sq foot salon with 26′ ceilings, or with an air filtration system designed for the chemicals used in various hair treatments.

    Dona states that this is “not the issue;” I would argue it is only half of the issue. As I have said before, if it is found that the labeling and marketing has been incorrect/misleading/illegal, that is obviously a problem and will be addressed. But these limits that are set for products, presume use without special precautions; using specialized filtration such as the one from Aerovex (not to be confused with Aerovet, which has something to do with aircraft construction) could protect stylists and clients, much like similar systems are used in hospitals and metal shops.

    Dona posts a great video about salon air filtration ( but criticizes again, Schoon’s status as a paid advisor. Who would be more credible in this video? They hired (yes, paid) an expert in salon (yes, nail and hair) industry contaminates to test and report. Again I ask if you thought he should do this for free? Everyone you see advocating anything in an ad, is paid. Expert witnesses in court, are paid. Why? Because everyone needs to be paid for their time and work.

    Dona takes my statement, “Products for professional use are not required to list their ingredients,” in response to her statement, “Remember these chemicals contained in BB are not on the label which is required!!” and twists it with a new statement, “If a product used in a workplace contains more than 0.1 percent formaldehyde, OSHA requires the manufacturer to list it and address safe work practices on the material safety data sheet accompanying the product.” Please excuse the misunderstanding, and note the the MSDS requirements are NOT the same as those for what must be listed on the product label. Even if a hypothetical product for professional use does contain significant levels of formaldehyde, and list it on the MSDS, it does not need to list that or any of its ingredients on the bottle/label. But of course it could not say formaldehyde-free on the packaging.

    Dona clearly has not researched the proper application or processing of this treatment, as she says above: “Sorry, but you can’t prevent some of this product getting on the scalp, or being absorbed into the skin not only when it’s applied, but before you can wash your hair!” This product is NOT meant to be applied to the scalp, and is NOT left in the hair. A small amount (seriously, maybe a tablespoon over an average head of hair) is applied away from the scalp and combed through. If the neck is protected and caution is taken around the ears, there should be no skin contact (ask your stylist for protective caps if you don’t think s/he can keep it off your ears:,default,pd.html)

    Brazilian Blowout, unlike other smoothing treatments (including those which contain formaldehyde,) is rinsed out of the hair while the client is still in the salon. They do not go home with it in their hair, sleeping on it and rubbing it into their skin. Now we get back to be formaldehyde being a gas and the fact that it can cause irritation to the skin, mouth, eyes and throat when present in the air. This brings us back around to the Chemical Source Capture System, which as seen in the video you so kindly posted (and presumably watched), vacuums in the fumes as they are produced.

    Thank you, Dona, for re-stating that the investigation is under way. Some salons have stopped offering the service, while others are continuing offering it without any additional precautions. Some may not even know about this concern/controversy. I am continuing to offer it with the same precautions I have been taking.

    You, and anyone else, are of course free to choose not to have the service done.

  14. First of all, even if this treatment were proven safe, (which so far credible experts are saying it’s not), the precautions and applic. process the stylists need to take, (and you are assuming all will follow the exact methods you describe, without any other variables, AND purchase a ventilation system that costs hundreds to thousands of dollars), which I doubt the majority of small salons or beauty operators can afford, that all will be well!! Though I’ve called into question all these treatments cont. formal., not just BB, who might wash out the prod. which is said to contain Formaldehyde. (I personally used a different one, which wasn’t washed out, which now indep. labs say contain 7X the allowed formaldehyde). It is obvious, you are way too closely tied, (as are others on this site), to BB t(someone said you are a trainer for them-I don’t know) to be in the least possible way objective. You, dismiss, the MANY scientists and credible agencies that have found formaldehyde in air and prod. samples, and you claim to know better about how they should have conducted air sample tests???? Sorry, but YES, formaldehyde in the product at levels found to be 9-12%, is 100% of the issue. Your comments may come back to haunt you., and if you want to continue to use this product, or others that are SO EXCITED on this site that 500 people attend a training for something not proven safe, than by all means do what you want. But please, don’t lie to your customers or give them your suedo-science theroies. (I at least have had yrs of college chemistry.). This is my last posting on this site, because most of the people have a vested interest. in selling and performing these treatments. Good luck!

  15. In response to the above comment: I am not a trainer or a representative of BB (nor have I seen anyone say I was, or I would have corrected them.) I am simply a hair stylist (or “beauty operator,” if you prefer) who is trying to decipher confusing and conflicting information.

    I do not lie to my clients; some have contacted me with questions since this story has developed, and I have directed them towards information on both sides, as well as information about the precautions I take to make it safer. I completely respect anyone who chooses not to have it done, just want to show that if you’re thinking about having it done, my chair is the best place 🙂

    As far as misapplication or processing…this is true for all chemical services. If the wrong things are mixed together or left on too long, against instruction, it can cause serious damage to the hair or scalp. Why is this different? Why should the standard be set by the people who do it wrong, or salons who allow stylists to do it with insufficient training (the original complainant in OR wasn’t even BB-Certified)? This makes no sense. I have a tube of Neosporin here, which says “for external use only.” If I decide to put it in my eye, and it causes me problems, can I sue them?

  16. antony white

    Last time I checked BB was telling everybody that they were aldehydes free and basically a natural formula that was safe to use and it did not even had any methylen glycol.
    Now you came to this forum all the time with your nonsense,about using ventilation system and imply that is actually is a safe product.
    Give me a breake.
    …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….Sorry I can`t say nothing to you.
    Is just a wste of my time.

  17. @Antony all I have done is report what I have been told, and share with readers who may be stylists or clients what I have found to be effective in improving comfort and which has been scientifically shown as an effective safety precaution as well.

    In one sentence you criticize me for using a treatment that could have bad side effects, and in the next one you criticize me for using and informing others of a precautionary option.

    Does anyone else understand Antony’s point? Besides blanket criticism of me, no matter what I do? Are you an ex boyfriend of mine using a pseudonym?

  18. antony white

    the one of the ex boyfriend was funny.

  19. @ Sean ~ What Brazilian Blowout told you today about Ca. Osha unfortunately is not true. I just got off the phone with a guy from the FDA and he said there is definitely an investigation underway and urges every single person who got sick from this product to contact their local branch of FDA. He was very interested in what I had to say about all of the symptoms I had and wanted to talk to every single person in my salon who got sick also. He also wants me to give him all of the information on my bottle & then put it in a box and seal it for evidence. Anyone who got sick from this PLEASE go to type in brazilian blowout and go to the bottom of the page and click on the link to find the nearest FDA. I left a message and he called me back within a few hours.

  20. Oh good…everyone still has a sense of humor here….it sure gets tense doesn’t it??

  21. Jen- You go from stating that the information coming from Cal-OSHA is not true, but then you don’t back it up. Instead, you start rambling about the FDA. Call Cal-OSHA, and then report back here, because I could care less what the FOOD & DRUG ADMIN has to say about COSMETICS. Once Cal-OSHA releases their air quality tests, you can kiss your ridiculous “symptoms” and all this hysteria over formaldehyde a fine farewell.

  22. I still say Brazilian Blowout will survive this and probably go on to make millions of dollars with this product. I think California OSHA is going to give it the ok and good old Oregon OSHA is going to be eating their words. BB now has two independent labs saying the product is safe. Also, Doug Schoon does not work for BB and has no interest in protecting them, he simply does testing. He obviously gets paid for his work, no one does testing for free. He has done no previous work for Brazilian Blowout and does not consult with them on making the product.

  23. antony white

    OSHA is not confirming anything at this point.
    Jordana OSHA did not say anything about BB in the article that they published onBB website.
    they hire a lab that probably tested a fake bottle given to them from BB.
    I don`t buy it from them dear.Wait for OSHA statements when they came out.
    Should be pretty soon.

  24. @Antony I didn’t say OSHA made a statement. I posted a short comment linking to an announcement that HSA, an independent lab, has tested the air quality and found the results are well within OSHA’s guidelines.

    I’d like to highlight this point in answer to your question: “the Air Monitoring Study was administered over an eight-hour period in a typical salon environment, while cosmetologists performed multiple Brazilian Blowout professional smoothing treatments throughout the day”

    It would have been apparent during those treatments if the product didn’t work because the bottle was “fake.”

    Don’t worry, we all know you don’t buy it, literally or figuratively. Yes we will all soon see what happens.

  25. Just got this email from Oregon OSHA:


    We are planning to release more testing results next week as part of a complete report. In the meantime, we continue to stand by our test results. We also expect to have more guidance in the coming weeks, when the complete test results are available.

    If you have a technical question, you can contact Dave McLaughlin at 503-947-7457. If you are a salon located in Oregon, you can also request a confidential, no-cost consultation that would include sampling at your workplace (California OSHA also offers this service). Here is the link for more info in Oregon:

    I appreciate your interest in this issue.


    Melanie Mesaros

    Oregon OSHA – Public Information Officer


    1. First, to understand,before quoting and relying upon partial test results BB posted, read the test standards OSHA outlines for formaldehyde “Sampling strategy and analytical methods for formaldehyde.”
    To summarize, there are basically two measurements (PEL’s). One, measures presence of formaldehyde PPM’s over an 8-hr period, and the other at the peak of exposure. “There are two PELs, the TWA concentration and the STEL.” OSHA states: “Most employers will find that one of these two limits is more critical in the control of their operations, and OSHA expects that the employer will concentrate monitoring efforts on the critical component. “ So, which test would seem most “critical” here? The one that measures an 8 hr. period, or one that looks at the exposure when the actual treatment is taking place, and product is being heated??? Both, are important, though obviously the most critical is the PEL that looks at the peak level of exposure, and while heat is being applied.” “Any process that involves the heating of a formaldehyde-bearing resin. Processes and work operations that use formaldehyde in these manners will probably require further investigation at the worksite to determine the extent of employee monitoring that should be conducted.”
    2. The lab that did the sampling for BB is HEALTH SCIENCE ASSOCIATES (HAS). They are an independent for-profit lab that was hired by BB. Though they might be a fine lab, the first thing I looked at is the educ. background of the staff shown. There are no PhD’s listed on their website. (2-with M.S. degrees, 2-Bachelor’s only, and one without educ. Listed). I decided to call them, and ask where I could find/read the complete testing report. I spoke with “Kathy” the person in charge of the testing who said, “The final report has not been issued.” (to BB or anywhere). I asked her if they performed the test measuring the peak level exposure, and she stated, “No, we did not. We’ll be doing further tests beginning next week.” They understand there are many looking at these results, and Kathy explained they were under “legal and contractual restraints” in discussing results. She also stated that even when further tests are conducted, and they do issue a final report, that it was BB, that paid for the study, and that BB alone“….can choose to release whatever portion of those results they want to release (or not release).” Health Science Associates themselves, cannot release the results and final report (without permission from BB) when completed to the public or elsewhere, since BB paid for it!
    3. Ireland banned ‘Acai Professional Smoothing Solution” yesterday. “The professional salon-only treatment has been taken off the shelves after it emerged it contains high levels of a substance which can lead to serious health consequences.” “…hair stylists who use the treatment, which is manufactured in California, have been told to immediately stop — due to the presence of unacceptable levels of the chemical formaldehyde…”
    4. Doug Schoon the other scientist hired by BB has long been trying to change the definitions for formaldehyde inclusion as an ingredient by saying it can’t be present since it’s a gas. (Prior to 2005 however, he conclusively maintained it was present in nail hardening solutions. Maybe that changed later-He was a VP for a nail company). In an Aug. 11 article, Mr. Schoon stated, “You can also be sure that the formaldehyde related cancer risks claimed by these advocacy groups doesn’t apply to cosmetics.” Hmm…really? Here’s what the National Cancer Institute says: “ Formaldehyde has been classified as a known human carcinogen (cancer-causing substance) by the International Agency for Research on Cancer and as a probable human carcinogen by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency . Research studies of workers exposed to formaldehyde have suggested an association between formaldehyde exposure and several cancers, including nasopharyngeal cancer and leukemia.” Mr. Schoon is a paid consultant for BB; nothing criminal in that, just not what you should be reading if you want to read truthful, objective results about the formaldehyde contained in BB, or other smoothing treatments. What the rest of science says, including OSHA is “formaldehyde and methylene glycol are the same thing.” “The formaldehyde standard adopted by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration refers to both “formalin” and “methylene glycol” as synonyms for formaldehyde (specificallyreferencing formaldehyde in solution). The rule also makes it clear that certain steps are required whether formaldehyde is a gas, in solution or in materials that release formaldehyde.” FDA’s website states, “the Federal Occupational Safety and Health Association views both formalin and methylene glycol as “synonyms for formaldehyde.” The reason they’re so interchangeable is that they both off-gas formaldehyde, especially when you heat them up. FDA and other state and local agencies are investigating the many reports of adverse affects ranging from eye irritation and breathing problems to nosebleeds, headaches, rashes and fainting. Harmless ingredients? I don’t think so. Please don’t grasp at straws believing what you wish were true. Stay tuned; read current and upcoming reports that will be issued from credible agencies that have nothing to gain, as opposed to those coming from a company, (or those representing that co.), that is trying only to protect millions of dollars in profits at your expense-especially now while they still can! This company, and likely others that will come to light judging by the tests, have lied about the products containing formaldehyde. It’s there…it’s not safe for stylists or clients to breath… AND ventilation systems or not, if over 0.2 % it is illegal and dangerous!

  27. WOW Michael thank you for that!!!
    I am proud to say the FDA is definitely doing a great job and did not hesitate starting a full blown investigation after 4 people in my salon got sick.
    I just want to reiterate that if you got sick from Brazilian Blowout the FDA is urging people to contact them:
    Just leave a message and someone will call you back. You will be very surprised at how helpful they are!!

  28. antony white

    BB did not hand the lab the same bottle.They geve them a bottle with no formaldehyde at all.
    I would love to see the bottle that they geve them and smell it.
    First time I smelled the bottle of acai formaldehyde free I almost got a headache,only by smelling it.
    You wait and see what is going to happen next week with OSHA statement.
    BB things they can keep playing with people lives.
    I just say that they are pure and simply frigging criminals.
    I can`t wait for them to be hammered by those class actions.

  29. And for anyone who could care less about what the FDA has to say about cosmetics….you should.
    Here’s a little burb on the FDA’s website updated October 18, 2010:

    What actions can FDA take against firms that market adulterated or misbranded cosmetics?
    FDA may take regulatory action if it has information to support that a cosmetic is adulterated or misbranded. The agency can pursue action through the Department of Justice in the federal court system to remove adulterated and misbranded cosmetics from the market. To prevent further shipment of an adulterated or misbranded product, the agency may request a federal district court to issue a restraining order against the manufacturer or distributor of the violative cosmetic. Violative cosmetics may be subject to seizure. FDA also may initiate criminal action against a person violating the law

  30. Jen-Thanks again for sharing the FDA information. When I spoke with Melanie Mesaros/OSHA yesterday, she also reiterated that the FDA was investigating, and to call if you’ve experienced any symptoms,

    Antony- Unfortunately, we having no way of knowing what product was used in this last air monitoring sample, and unless Brazilian Blowout chooses to release the final report, (doubtful), when completed by Health Science Associates, it would be difficult to get that information. Again I want to say, they did not test during peak levels of exposure, and said they would be running more tests next week.. Therefore, the headline on the BB website, “THE RESULTS ARE ! EXPOSURE LEVELS TO COSMETOLOGISTS AND CLIENTS CONSIDERED SAFE! FORMALDEHYDE GAS LEVELS ARE WELL BELOW OSHA’S PERMISSIBLE EXPOSURE LIMITS (PEL)” is pretty misleading. Though credible tests have already shown the product contains unacceptable levels of formaldehyde, It will be very informative to see OSHA”s upcoming comprehensive report , where they’ve tested even more product, in salonsall across the state. Hopefully then the people who are refusing to look at the scientific evidence will finally get it!. Unfortunately, this all takes time, and there are still some stylists advertising this to be formaldehyde free and safe.