Fears grow over health risks of hair treatment
A VICTORIAN woman fears a toxic hair straightener taken off the market this year caused her to develop cancer.
Helen Brown, 51, was diagnosed with breast cancer in March, 13 months after having her hair straightened with a product that has since been recalled because of its formaldehyde content.
The product, Global Keratin Hair Taming System, is one of seven products recalled by the Australian Competition
wholesale virgin hair and Consumer Commission in the past two years because it contained too much of the chemical, which is known to cause cancer.
Ms Brown said that
wholesale indian hair after receiving a treatment with the product at a hair salon in February last year, she lost half her head of hair over several months.
”When I washed my hair, it was all over my shoulders and clogging up the drain. I was losing about four times the hair I would usually lose,” she said.
Then, this year, she discovered she had breast cancer.
wholesale brazilian hair She has since had surgery to remove the cancer, but fears it has something to do with the treatment she received.
”I haven’t got any family history of cancer or anything, so you have to wonder, don’t you?”
Ms Brown said that when the product was applied to her hair, it smelt like ”burnt flesh” and made her head itchy.
Ms Brown chose to tell her story after The Age reported that scores of Australians may have been exposed to a hair straightening treatment that includes 50 times the safe level of formaldehyde.
The product, Brazilian Blowout, has been recalled by its supplier, Haircare Australia, after the ACCC expressed concern that there was ”a substantial degree of scientific evidence that formaldehyde can be a dangerous substance, can be toxic, allergenic and carcinogenic, and when inhaled can cause headaches, a burning sensation in the throat and difficulty with breathing”.
Brazilian Blowout is one of seven products taken off the market over the past two years in Australia because of excessive formaldehyde content. They include two versions of the Global Keratin Hair Taming system, HydroSpa Keratin Smoothing Treatment, Keratin Complex Smoothing Therapy, Guava Latino Hair Straightener Treatment and Smoothing Therapy for Blonde Hair and Express Blowout.
ACCC deputy chairman Peter Kell said although he did not know how many products had escaped the recalls, the commission was working hard to educate the hairdressing industry and consumers about the dangers of the products. Many suppliers were now making formaldehyde free products, he said.
Mr Kell said Australian laws required cosmetic products containing formaldehyde to include a warning label saying it was in the product. Cosmetic products also need to have labels detailing their chemical composition. The maximum fine for non compliance is $1.1 million.
”Any supplier who has a major incident involving products with formaldehyde will not only face ACCC action but also significant reputational damage,” he said.