Formaldehyde in Hair Straighteners Prompts FDA Warning

FRIDAY, March 5, 2021 (HealthDay News) – You might decide that your frizzy strands aren’t that bad after all, given a new warning from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration that most hair straighteners / hair straighteners are hair release formaldehyde gas, a human. carcinogenic.

Being exposed to formaldehyde for longer periods of time and at higher concentrations increases health risks, according to the FDA.

Exposure to formaldehyde can cause a host of complaints, including eye problems or irritation; nervous system problems such as headache and dizziness; and breathing problems such as a sore or itchy throat, cough, or wheezing. Nausea, chest pain, vomiting, and rash are also associated with exposure to formaldehyde.

Long-term effects can include chronic headaches, asthma, contact dermatitis (a red, itchy rash) and possibly cancer, the FDA noted in a press release.

Some people are very sensitive to colorless gas, while others do not respond to the same level of exposure. If you’re sensitive to formaldehyde, don’t use a straightener, the FDA has warned.

If you want to use hair straighteners, hire a licensed hairstylist who is trained to take precautions. These include wearing gloves and safety glasses and working in a well ventilated living room. If ventilation is poor or non-existent, you risk inhaling formaldehyde released when the product is heated.

It’s also a good idea to interview the stylist. Find out if the product contains formaldehyde, ask if you can see its ingredient list and safety data sheet, and ask if there are any alternative products that don’t release formaldehyde.

The FDA does not recommend purchasing a hair straightener in a store or online to apply on your own. But if you’re determined to do it, read the list of required ingredients on the package or on the website. If there is no listing, do not buy the product.

If formaldehyde, formalin or methylene glycol are listed as ingredients, it means that the product contains formaldehyde or it will release formaldehyde. Not all hair straightening products contain formaldehyde, which is why you should read the ingredient list, the FDA noted.

More information

The American Cancer Society has more on formaldehyde.

SOURCE: US Food and Drug Administration, press release, March 2, 2021

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