Public advisory

Several Professional Hair Smoothing Solutions Contain Formaldehyde

Starting date:
December 10, 2010
Posting date:
December 10, 2010
Type of communication:
Source of recall:
Health Canada
Product Safety
General Public
Identification number:

The issue

As part of its ongoing work on hair smoothing products, Health Canada is warning Canadians that ten additional professional hair smoothing solutions have been found to contain levels of formaldehyde above the limit set by Health Canada. An earlier advisory on Brazilian Blowout Solution was issued on October 26, 2010. These products are known to be available at salons across Canada but are not generally available directly to consumers.

Health Canada has received complaints of burning eyes, nose, and throat, breathing difficulties, and one report of hair loss associated with use of professional hair straightening products.

Formaldehyde is permitted as a preservative in cosmetics at levels of no more than 0.2%. Formaldehyde is a known irritant and sensitizer, and is linked to cancer in humans when inhaled chronically over a long period of time. Health Canada believes that the reactions are being caused by formaldehyde becoming aerosolized during the blow drying and flat ironing stages of the treatment. Any procedure containing formaldehyde above the allowable limits places clients and stylists at increased risk.

Products and the levels of formaldehyde found in our testing
Product Level of Formaldehyde
Brazilian Keratin Treatment by Marcia Teixeira 1.8%
Advanced Brazilian Keratin Treatment by Marcia Teixeira 1.7%
Chocolate Extreme De-Frizzing Treatment by Marcia Teixeira 1.6%
Keratin Complex Smoothing Therapy by Coppola 1.8%
Global Keratin Taming System Strawberry by Global Keratin 3.0%
Global Keratin Taming System with Juvexin Strawberry Resistant by Global Keratin 4.4%
Global Keratin Taming System with Juvexin Strawberry Light Wave by Global Keratin 1.4%
Pro-Collagen RX Keratin Treatment 2.8%
IStraight Keratin (Advanced Keratin Treatment) by IBS Beauty 2.3%
Brazilian Thermal Reconstruction by Cadiveu 7.0%

Who is affected

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

What consumers should do

  • Consumers who are experiencing adverse reactions to these professional hair smoothing solutions are advised to seek medical attention. Consumers who have used this product and not experienced any reactions likely have no cause for concern.
  • Stylists who use these professional hair smoothing solutions should immediately stop using the affected product. Health Canada has not tested all professional hair smoothing solutions. It is the responsibility of manufacturers, importers, distributors and sellers to ensure that their product is in compliance with the Food and Drugs Act.
  • Adverse reactions to cosmetics can be reported to Health Canada using a form available on Health Canada’s website.

What Health Canada is doing

Health Canada is working with the Canadian distributors to address concerns regarding professional hair smoothing solutions and to stop sale of the products listed above at all levels of trade.

Products recalled/affected

This advisory is for the products listed in the table above.

Health Canada understands that the affected products are typically available in salons only.

How to report problems with consumer products

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.

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