On Novemeber 10th 2010 A class action lawsuit was filed by California Attorney General Jerry Brown’s office and the people of California against the popular hair straightening company, Brazilian Blowout. The file is on behalf of several plaintiffs who have used this keratin product and claim the company has violated consumer false-advertising and unfair-competition laws.
Brazilian Blowout is a product created to smooth hair. It boasts liquid keratin as its main ingredient, and promises to be the gold standard in hair styling; designed to smooth wavy, frizzy, and curly hair of all from types and textures including extremely damaged and chemical treated. The product hit the shelves of exclusive LA hair salons running, and has generated tremendous interest based on its results.
Brazilian Blowout claims the ingredients in their products are formaldehyde free. For those unfamiliar with formaldehyde it is an organic chemical, and is introduced to proteines like liquid Keratin for its binding capacity and its hair smoothing ability when combined with high heat from thermal styling tools. After usage, hair is manageable and frizz free. So what, right? Apparently, what makes this product fantastic- is what makes it so bad, formaldehyde. When formaldehyde gets heated to extreme temperatures (which is neccessary to activate the keratin) it gives off caustic gasses and has been shown to be a toxic carcinogen.
California’s Attorney General Jerry Brown office alleges that the North Hollywood based company Brazilian Blowout sold its product under the premise of being “formaldehyde” free, even after concerned consumers were asking for more information regarding a known cancer -causing chemical, formaldehyde, and violating California’s Proposition 65.
Proposition 65 is the safe drinking water and toxic Enforcement Act of 1986 and was created to address voters concerns about exposure to harmful chemicals. This proposition requires California businesses to notify Consumers about significant amounts of chemicals in the products they purchase for their homes, and workplace.
Proposition 65 gives consumers the choice to make informed decisions about the products they purchase before they purchase them in an effort to protect themselves. Proposition 65 lists chemicals (household, food, drug, dyes, or solvents) that can cause cancer, birth defects, or reproductive harm. Formaldehyde and its lesser components are on that list.
Tests by Oregon OSHA (Occupational and Safety Health Administration) have shown that this particular product proves to contain levels of chemicals way higher than is the considered safe. For chemicals that are listed as cancer causing there are no acceptable levels of exposure and it is unknown as to what amounts can cause serious harm (1 in 70,000 to 100.000) to consumers and therefore cannot be deemed non-carcenogenic.
Businesses which produce and use these types of chemicals are required by law to disclose the chemical with a clear and reasonable warning of its properties. Once warned and a violation has been issued a business has 12 months to rectify the situation and comply with the warning. Failing to do so results in severe penalties, fines or worse.
MISLEADING BUSINESS PRACTICES
Brazilian Blowout and Acai Professional Smoothing Solution advertised its product as formaldehyde free using no harsh chemicals, and as being salon safe for use. The people of California (Hair Stylists, Salon Owners and Consumers) collectively filed a claim that they purchased product not knowing the health risks and were mislead by the manufacturer, citing “unsafe business practices and deception.” When it is all said and done, the suit calls for thousands of dollars in fines and even more reimbursements to salons, hairstylists, and consumers for loss and damages as a result of purchasing this product by means of unlawful or misleading acts.