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Health Canada issues warning about Brazilian Blowout hair treatment

Brazilian Blowout Solution, a costly and time-consuming treatment that promises to smooth and straighten hair, is available at salons across Canada.

Sarah Dea/The Globe and Mail

Health Canada says a trendy hair treatment may expose women to unacceptably high levels of formaldehyde, a carcinogen, and that it is linked to health complaints by consumers.

Brazilian Blowout Solution, a treatment manufactured by Brazilian Blowout of California, contains 12 per cent formaldehyde, significantly higher than the 0.2 per cent maximum amount allowed in cosmetics under federal rules. It puts consumers and hair stylists at risk, the department said.

An advisory issued Thursday by Health Canada says it has received "complaints of burning eyes, nose, and throat, breathing difficulties, and one report of hair loss associated with use of the product."

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Brazilian Blowout Solution, a costly and time-consuming treatment that promises to smooth and straighten hair, is available at salons across Canada, the department said.

Formaldehyde, which is sometimes used in minute amounts as a preservative in cosmetics, is an irritant and may increase the risk of cancer if inhaled chronically over long periods, Health Canada said.

The department said it believes the reactions to the treatment are occurring when the formaldehyde becomes aerosolized during blow drying and flat ironing.

Health Canada says it is working with the Canadian distributor of the treatment to address concerns.

The company said in a statement Thursday it stands by the integrity of its products.

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About the Author

Carly Weeks has been a journalist with The Globe and Mail since 2007.  She has reported on everything from federal politics to the high levels of sodium in the Canadian diet. More

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