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Public advisory

Brazilian Blowout Solution Contains Formaldehyde: Update

Starting date:
October 26, 2010
Posting date:
October 26, 2010
Type of communication:
Source of recall:
Health Canada
Product Safety, Poisoning Hazard
General Public
Identification number:

Health Canada is informing Canadians that Brazilian Blowout Solution manufactured by Brazilian Blowout of California has been confirmed to contain unacceptable levels of formaldehyde. Note that at this time, this advisory pertains only to the Brazilian Blowout Solution.


Testing previously conducted by Health Canada found that the Brazilian Blowout Solution contained 12% formaldehyde. Health Canada has continued to analyze this product. Validated test results show formaldehyde levels of 8.4%, which is consistent with results found in other jurisdictions. This amount is 42 times the acceptable limit when used as a preservative in certain cosmetic products, and remains well above the amount known to cause injury.

Products affected

This advisory is only for the Brazilian Blowout Solution at this time, since it is known to contain formaldehyde. At this time, other hair smoothing treatment products are not known to be affected. The affected product was available only in salons.

What you should do

  • Consumers who have had adverse reactions to Brazilian Blowout treatments are advised to seek medical attention.  There is no cause for concern for consumers who have used this product and not experienced any reactions.
  • Stylists who use Brazilian Blowout treatments should immediately stop using the affected product.
  • Adverse reactions to cosmetics can be reported to Health Canada using a form available on Health Canada's website:

Who is affected

Consumers receiving hair smoothing treatments using Brazilian Blowout, and stylists performing the treatment may experience reactions of burning eyes, nose, throat, and breathing troubles.


Formaldehyde is permitted at low levels when used as a preservative in cosmetics. In liquid form, formaldehyde is referred to as methylene glycol or formalin. The terms "formaldehyde" and "methylene glycol" are often used interchangeably in toxicity studies pertaining to formaldehyde.

Health Canada continues to receive complaints of burning eyes, nose, and throat, breathing difficulties, and hair loss associated with use of this product. Health Canada believes that the reactions are being caused primarily by formaldehyde being released and inhaled during the blow drying and flat ironing stages of the treatment.

Health Canada remains concerned that elevated levels of formaldehyde in any form places people at increased risk. Possible long-term effects are also of concern to Health Canada, since formaldehyde is a known irritant, sensitizer, and is linked to cancer in humans when inhaled chronically over a long period of time. As a result, the Department has worked to stop distribution of this product in Canada.

Testing previously conducted by Health Canada found that the Brazilian Blowout Solution contained 12% formaldehyde. Health Canada has continued to analyze this product. Validated test results confirmed that the formaldehyde releasing potential is 8.4%, as measured by High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC).

Due to the nature and number of complaints received by the Department and the elevated levels of formaldehyde found, an advisory was issued based on the initial results, in order to communicate health risks in a timely manner and prevent additional injuries from occurring.

Report health or safety concerns

Health Canada is interested in receiving reports of incidents or injury reports related to consumer products and cosmetics that have been previously recalled (health and safety related complaints). Incidents or injuries may be about the same hazard or may be about a different hazard related to the same product. An incident report form can be accessed on the Health Canada website.

What Health Canada is doing

Health Canada is working with the exclusive Canadian distributor to address concerns regarding Brazilian Blowout Solution and to stop distribution of this product to salons in Canada. Health Canada is also informing consumers of the risk associated with this product.

This product remains a concern to Health Canada and the Department will continue to follow up on incident reports associated with these types of products.