Hair Smoothing Products
And the Presence of Formaldehyde



Oregon OSHA
A Division of the Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services
at Oregon Health & Sciences University
October 29, 2010


Summary and Discussion of Oregon OSHA Air Monitoring Results

Air samples were taken in seven salons during treatment with Brazilian Blowout Acai
Professional Smoothing Solution (labeled “Formaldehyde Free”). In each case the stylist treated
only one client. Neither that stylist nor other stylists in the same salon treated any other clients on
the day of sampling. The treatment is a three-step process in which the stylist combs in the
solution, blow dries the hair and then heat treats it. The stylists were sampled during this

Samples were also taken on adjacent people or in adjacent areas in six of the salons.
The exposures varied widely depending on many factors, such as ventilation, room size, and
duration of treatment. The highest exposure was 1.88 parts per million (ppm) for 26 minutes
while blow drying the hair. The highest 8-hour time weighted average exposure was 0.331 ppm.
Like federal OSHA, Oregon OSHA has four airborne exposure levels for formaldehyde that are
relevant to these exposures. The standard’s action level triggers additional requirements if the
8-hour time-weighted average (TWA) exceeds 0.50 ppm52 and the permissible exposure limit
(PEL) prohibits employers from exceeding an 8-hour TWA of 0.75 ppm formaldehyde.53 The
highest exposure was 66 percent of the action level and 44 percent of the PEL. However, if the
same stylist had performed one more comparable two-hour procedure in the course of the same
day, the time-weighted-average would likely have been approximately twice as high, putting it
well over the action level and at more than 85 percent of the PEL. A third comparable procedure
would have been likely to result in exposures above the PEL.

In addition, and of particular concern in relation to this sample, the standard includes a Short
Term Exposure Limit (STEL) of 2 ppm.54 This exposure level cannot be exceeded for any 15
min period. As noted, the highest exposure documented (for a 26-minute period) was 1.88 ppm,
which is 94 percent of the STEL. Given the presence of two fans during the procedure in
question, it is not difficult to imagine a scenario where the STEL might be exceeded (at least by
this stylist).

The Formaldehyde Standard includes additional requirements that are invoked when employees
are exposed to airborne levels above an eight-hour average of 0.1 ppm, the employer must
institute an annual training program – and must provide medical surveillance to employees
reporting formaldehyde signs and symptoms.55
When employees are exposed to levels exceeding the action level or the STEL, the employer also
must perform periodic air monitoring and institute a medical surveillance program. When
exposures exceed the PEL, the employer also must establish regulated areas and provide
respiratory protection when other control measures, such as ventilation or work practices, cannot
reduce the levels below the PEL.

55 1910.1048(l)(1)(ii). This requirement is also independently triggered by the presence of materials containing more
than 0.1 percent formaldehyde.




Hair Smoothing Products and Formaldehyde                                   



Brazilian Blowout

Stylist will shampoo your hair with the Brazilian Blowout specially formulated Anti-Residue; Professional Shampoo to prepare your hair for the optimal smoothing result.


Rosio will be happay to book you for an apointment at the Irvine Salon:

15435 Jeffery Road
Irvine, CA 92618

Call: 949-262-0203

Serving the neightborhood locations: Tustin, Newport Beach, Newport Coast, Santa Ana, Laguna Beach, Costa Mesa, Corona Del Mar. Orange County California, CA, OC.

Heavenly Spa


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