Brazilians + Formaldehyde: Not a Good Thing for Your Hair
Posted on 14 September 2011
Today the New York Times featured an article on the risks of having a Brazilian Blowout. I was so struck by this photo by Richard Perry - I felt like it captures perfectly the dangers women will subject themselves to in the pursuit of beauty. Apply formaldehyde to your hair to make it look Supermodel-straight? SURE! Wear a gas mask and be stationed in the back room so no one else is endangered besides you and your hair stylist? RIGHT ON! Wear the formaldehyde for days, in the form of methylene glycol, exposing you and all the people you meet via inhalation? WHERE DO SIGN UP? Pay $500 for the pleasure? YES! Scary. Is a little frizz so bad? Even the poky FDA stepped up with a few strong words, direct from the NYT article: "Formaldehyde reacts with the mucous membranes lining the respiratory tract and the eyes, causing many symptoms, including blurred vision and eye irritation, headaches, dizziness and a burning sensation, cough, wheezing and sore throat. It can also cause nausea, chest pain, rashes and vomiting..." The F.D.A. sent a letter to "Brazillian Blowout Officials" to inform them of the risks of formaldehyde. I just have to say, "Duh." And, uh... where's the mention of formaldehyde as a known human carcinogen? After spending a semester dripping in formaldehyde in my Human Anatomy class in med school (I spare you the cadaveric deets), I'm a little sensitive about not being transparent and providing women with full disclosure. Do women sign informed consent that they understand formaldehyde can cause cancer? We need to stop this madness. Enough of the uncontrolled experiments on women. Join me?