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Theresa Richardson
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Matteah Taylor
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Mary League
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South Carolina Board of Cosmetology

S.C. Cosmetology Board Warns Public, Salon Workers, of Potential Health Threat

The Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Division (Oregon OSHA), a division of the Department of Consumer and Business Services, continues to express concerns about exposures to Oregon salon workers based on laboratory tests showing significant levels of formaldehyde in the salon hair straightening product distributed by Brazilian Blowout. The company has questioned the agency's test results, which found upwards of 10 percent in some samples.

Oregon OSHA confirmed the presence of significant levels of formaldehyde in early product samples from multiple Oregon salons. The agency initially used four different testing methods and has continued to conduct tests using an internationally recognized method. The 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.

In addition to its analysis of samples of the product itself, Oregon OSHA has done air monitoring during the hair smoothing treatment. Initial results indicate formaldehyde levels that could produce medical symptoms for exposed Oregon workers. The levels 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.

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