FDA sued over ‘failure’ to act on dangerous hair treatments

By Lucy Tandon Copp 16-Dec-2016

Environmental Working Group takes legal action against the FDA for allegedly not “adequately responding” to concerns over the health risks of formaldehyde in salon keratin products

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) and Women’s Voices for the Earth have filed a lawsuit against the FDA, claiming that it has “failed its duty” by not responding to a petition calling for investigations into salon keratin treatments containing formaldehyde.

A citizen petition was filed in 2011 by the EWG urging the FDA to investigate the safety of keratin hair straightening treatments, such as the Brazilian Blowout, and take appropriate action.

In 2011, the FDA did issue a warning to Brazilian Blowout claiming that its product was “adulterated” and “misbranded”.

However, five years later, the FDA has allegedly not issued a final response to the letter or taken any action against cosmetics manufacturers or brands.

Allowing salon workers and their customers to continue to be harmed by these products for over six years is unconscionable.

Alexandra Scranton, Director of Science and Research for Women’s Voices for the Earth, said: “The health risks posed by these products deserved immediate action from the FDA when it was brought to their attention in 2008.

“Allowing salon workers and their customers to continue to be harmed by these products for over six years is unconscionable.”

The lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia says the FDA has failed to adequately respond to concerns.

Tina Sigurdson, EWG Assistant General Counsel, said: “For years stylists have reported that the application of these hair treatments caused difficulty breathing, eye irritation and nosebleeds.”

High levels of formaldehyde are thought to be included in certain types of salon treatment products.

When these products reach high temperatures, which often happens through the use of heated styling tools in salons, formaldehyde can be released into the air.

Formaldehyde is thought to be a potent allergen and human carcinogen.