Apr 14, 2011 6:18 PM
(NBC) - Could the pursuit of perfectly straight hair be hazardous to your health, and your stylist's?
Women across the country have been thrilled with their keratin treatments that promise sleek hair even on days with the worst humidity, but now the Federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration has issued a hazard alert to hair salon owners saying some of these products release high levels of formaldehyde.
OSHA tests detected the gas in the air even when stylists used products labeled formaldehyde-free.
The alert specifically mentions the Brazilian Blowout, which does not technically contain formaldehyde.
But brazilian blowout products have an ingredient called "methylene glycol" which the company's ceo tells us does release trace amounts of formaldehyde during the heating and straightening process.
That's why salon owner Michael Randazzo opted not to use them in his Charlotte, North Carolina salon.
"There was controversy over the Brazilian Blowout. Does it have formaldehyde, does it not? I'm not going to do a service here that's not good for us," he says.
The potential problem is not limited to the Brazilian Blowout.
OSHA points out other similar treatments may also release formaldehyde.
Some New York salons now require their stylists and customers wear gas masks when using the products.
Formaldehyde can irritate the eyes and cause allergic reactions.
It's also linked to lung cancer.
It's a potentially hefty price to pay to avoid a few bad hair days.
The company that sells Brazilian Blowout products also sells "Brazilian Blowout Zero" which does not contain methylene glycol.