California sues Brazilian Blowout
In November 2010, the Ca. Attorney General’s office filed a lawsuit against the makers of Brazilian Blowout for violating several state laws, including falsely marketing Brazilian Blowout Solution and Brazilian Blowout Acai Professional Smoothing Solution as “salon safe” and “formaldehyde free”, exposing users of these products to formaldehyde, a chemical known to the state to cause cancer, without providing the legally required warning, and selling products with volatile organic compounds (VOC’s) in excess of the maximum allowable limits under state regulations.
In January 2012, a settlement was announced that requires Brazilian Blowout to:
– Cease deceptive advertising that describes two of its popular products as “formaldehyde-free” and “safe”, engage in substantial corrective advertising, and make significant changes to the Brazilian Blowout website.
– Produce a revised Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) that includes the language: “WARNING: Use of Brazilian Blowout Acai Professional Smoothing Solution as directed will expose you to formaldehyde (gas), a chemical known to the State of California to cause cancer” and distribute this information to recent product purchasers who may still have the product on hand and distribute it with all future product shipments. The revised MSDS will be posted on the company’s website.
– Affix “CAUTION” stickers to the bottles of the two products to inform stylists of the emission of formaldehyde gas and the need for precautionary measures, including adequate ventilation.
– Retest the two products for total smog-forming chemicals (VOC’s) to ensure that those products comply with state air quality regulations.
-Report the presence of formaldehyde in its products to the Safe Cosmetics Program at the Department of Public Health.
– Disclose refund policies to consumers before the products are purchased.
– Require proof of professional licensing before selling “salon use only” products to stylists.
– The company will pay $600,000 in fees, penalties and costs.
Despite all of these violations, the warning requirements are the maximum penalty that could be achieved under state law, which has health advocates increasing pressure on the FDA to take action.
This settlement is the first enforceable action in the U.S. by government officials to address the exposures to formaldehyde gas associated with the use of these products.