Will the FDA Ban Hair Relaxers? New Rule Re: Formaldehyde Proposed

example of straightened hairrThe FDA has proposed a new rule be implemented banning the use of formaldehyde and other chemicals that can release formaldehyde when heated such as methylene glycol. This proposal is based in part on the findings of a study published in 2022 that found that there was a notable increase in the risk of women developing uterine cancer by age 70 if they frequently used (4 or more times per year) hair relaxers containing formaldehyde such as keratin treatments or Brazilian blowouts. The percentage of risk of developing this rare cancer goes from 1.64% of women to 4.05% of women with regular hair relaxer use. While this rule will not ban hair relaxers per se, testing by several agencies suggests that formaldehyde and chemicals that release formaldehyde are extremely common in hair relaxers.

What is Formaldehyde?

Formaldehyde is a colorless gas that can cause irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat, as well as breathing tissues with immediate short exposures, and has been linked to certain cancers with long-term or larger-amount exposure. It has a very strong vinegar-like odor.

Where Does Formaldehyde Come From?

Formaldehyde is produced naturally as well as commercially for use in certain industrial processes. Most living organisms produce small amounts of formaldehyde during normal chemical processes. It is also produced in the decay of plants in the soil. It is also released into the air from tobacco smoke, tail-pipe emissions, kerosine heaters, and wood stoves.

What is Formaldehyde Used For?

Formaldehyde has a number of uses in its natural state as well as when dissolved in water (formalin) including:

  • It is used industrially in the process of pressing wood such as particle board.
  • It is used for embalming bodies.
  • It is used as a fungicide.
  • It is used as a germicide.
  • It is used as a disinfectant.
  • It is used as a preservative in certain medicines, antiseptics, and cosmetics.

In the past, the EPA has pushed for and obtained emissions regulations regarding formaldehyde release from compressed wood products during the manufacturing process.

What Hair Relaxers Contain Formaldehyde or Formalin?

A number of safety organizations have conducted testing and found over 150 hair relaxers containing formaldehyde and formalin—a formaldehyde-releasing product when heated.  According to the New York Department of Health, the following hair relaxers contain formaldehyde or formaldehyde-releasing chemicals:

  • Brazilian Blowout Solution
  • Brazilian Blowout Acai Professional Smoothing Solution
  • Brazilian Gloss Keratin Smoothing Gloss
  • Cadiveu Brazilian Thermal Reconstruction
  • Coppola Keratin Complex Smoothing Therapy, Natural Keratin Smoothing Treatment
  • Coppola Keratin Complex Smoothing Therapy, Natural Keratin Smoothing Treatment, LightWave
  • Coppola Keratin Express Brazilian Smoothing Treatment
  • Coppola Keratin Complex Smoothing Therapy
  • Global Keratin Functional Keratin Hair Taming System Light Wave Chocolate
  • Global Keratin Taming System Strawberry
  • Global Keratin Taming System with Juvexin Strawberry Resistant
  • Global Keratin Taming System with Juvexin Strawberry LightWave
  • IBS Beauty IStraight Keratin Advanced Keratin Treatment
  • Kera Green Keratin and Protein Hair
  • Marcia Teixeira Advanced Brazilian Keratin Treatment
  • Marcia Teixeira Brazilian Keratin Treatment
  • Marcia Teixeira Chocolate, extreme de-frizzing treatment
  • Pro-Collagen RX Keratin Treatment
  • QOD GOLD Solution

The Above list is a list compiled from products tested and is not a comprehensive list of hair relaxers containing formaldehyde. Not all products on the market have undergone testing.  Even some hair relaxers that were marketed as formaldehyde-free were discovered to have formaldehyde or release it during the application process.

Hair Relaxer Lawsuits

With the emergence of all of the studies linking cancer to hair relaxer use, consumers and their hair relaxer lawyers have filed over 3700 hair relaxer lawsuits. The hair relaxer lawsuits have been consolidated into a hair relaxer MDL.

When Will the Proposed Rule Baning Hair Relaxers Containing Formaldehyde Go Into Effect?

The rule banning hair relaxers containing formaldehyde is set to go into effect in April of 2024 but has been opened for comment and discussion between now and then.

Talk to A Lawyer About Your Rights

The Hair Relaxer MDL is underway and moving forward. This new rule proposed by the FDA is likely to raise awareness of the seriousness of formaldehyde used in cosmetics and other consumer products and draw attention to the hair relaxer litigation. Your time to bring a claim may be subject to both state and federal statutes of limitations so the sooner you talk to a hair relaxer attorney, the better. Waiting too long to discuss your claim could result in your losing the right to file a claim before the statute of limitations runs. Call Simmons and Fletcher, P.C., Injury & Accident Lawyers at 800-298-0111 to be connected with an attorney to evaluate your claim.

As you can imagine, litigation of this size involves a substantial investment of time and expense for clients and their lawyers. As a result, many attorneys are teaming up to fund and fight for their clients efficiently. Cases will be referred for evaluation and qualification by co-counsel for efficient and effective handling of these cases.




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