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California to Rule on Brazilian Blowout

The state's superior court has filed a proposed preliminary injunction against GIB LLC, the makers of hair straightening treatment.

The superior court of the state of California has filed a proposed preliminary injunction against GIB LLC, the makers of Brazilian Blowout, citing that according to the state’s testing, the formula for the hair straightening treatment of the same name does in fact contain formaldehyde and the company should let its salon partners know.

Judge Steven A. Brick will preside over a May 2 hearing, scheduled for 3 p.m., to decide whether the preliminary injunction proposed by the state will be signed, rejected or modified.

The preliminary injunction states that Brazilian Blowout’s “Smoothing Solution contains approximately 8 percent formaldehyde by weight, which is in the range typical of embalming fluid used by funeral homes.”

The state’s testing by independent laboratories was necessary, the preliminary injunction stated, “because of [Brazilian Blowout’s] fervent [and ongoing] denials that its products contain high levels of formaldehyde.”

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Subsequently, the state tested two samples, one procured from a certified hairstylist and another from the offices of California OSHA, which had seized the product directly from GIB’s repackaging facility in Southern California. Both were tested at two independent labs, said the preliminary injunction, including one with specialized expertise in formaldehyde chemistry. The testing confirmed between 7.87 percent and 8.4 percent formaldehyde by weight in the Smoothing Solution, exceeding limits by more than eight times for salon workers.

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The complaint goes on to describe violations of at least five separate state laws resulting from the formaldehyde finding, including failure to tell salon workers that the use of the product exposes them to a chemical known to cause cancer. The injunction orders that GIB refrain from selling its Smoothing Solution without providing a material safety data sheet, or MSDS, to each purchaser with a warning that use of the product will expose them to formaldehyde, a chemical known to cause cancer.

The injunction also asks that GIB post a link to this MSDS in a conspicuous place on a portion of its Web site; warn any customers who purchased the product from May 1 to the present that their stock likely will lead to future exposures and send them a copy of the MSDS; change packaging and promotions using the statements “Formaldehyde Free,” and submit product ingredient information to the state Department of Public Health.

GIB did not return calls seeking comment.

Brazilian Blowout is allowed to file a response brief, and the state gets to file one short final brief, all before May 2.

Meanwhile, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), under the U.S. Department of Labor, issued a hazard alert Monday, warning stylists and consumers that the popular hair straightening treatment, among others, could pose serious health risks. “Workers have the right to know the risks associated with the chemicals with which they work, and how to protect themselves,” stated OSHA assistant secretary Dr. David Michaels in a statement.