Health warning issued on popular hair treatment

Model Lydia Hearst prepares backstage at the Warren-Tricomi salon.

JEREMY HOBSON: Now to a court case involving a popular hair treatment. The Brazilian Blowout company is being accused of lying about toxic chemicals in its products.

Marketplace's Eve Troeh reports.

EVE TROEH: The Brazilian Blowout started as a Hollywood secret to smooth, straight hair, and became a craze at salons around the country.

YouTube's full of testimonials.

VIDEO MONTAGE ONE: $507 dollars -- My hair is smooth and silky.

VIDEO MONTAGE TWO: Takes out, like, the frizz and the pouf.

VIDEO MONTAGE THREE: It's just sooo soft.

But Stacy Malkan at the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics would like these customers to know:

STACY MALKAN: We don't need to be putting cancer causing chemicals on our heads in order to be beautiful.

Government tests found illegal levels of formaldehyde gas in salons that use Brazilian Blowout. The company's ads say the treatment is formaldehyde-free.

David Michaels at the U.S. Department of Labor says yes -- when it's in the bottle.

DAVID MICHAELS: When it hits the air, it becomes formaldehyde, so if you're nearby, you breath formaldehyde.

His office issued a warning to salon owners to stop using the product. And several lawsuits have been filed around the country. All those cases will now be consolidated in Los Angeles.

I'm Eve Troeh for Marketplace.

About the author

Eve Troeh is News Director at WWNO-FM in New Orleans, La., helping build the first public radio news department in the station’s 40-year history. She reported for the Marketplace Sustainability Desk from 2010 to 2013.


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