Link to the University of Pittsburgh Homepage
Link to the University Library System Homepage Link to the Contact Us Form

Formaldehyde exposure in the cosmetology industry from Brazilian blowouts

Frawley, Kristin L (2013) Formaldehyde exposure in the cosmetology industry from Brazilian blowouts. Master Essay, University of Pittsburgh.

[img] Microsoft Word
Submitted Version
Available under License : See the attached license file.

Download (207kB)
[img] Plain Text (licence)
Available under License : See the attached license file.

Download (1kB)


Brazilian Blowout is a method of temporarily straightening hair using both a protein and a preservative solution, followed by heating the hair with a very hot flat iron. This chemical process is of public health importance because it can put customers of the hair salon and the cosmetologist at risk for exposure to higher than normal concentrations of formaldehyde, a known toxicant and suspected human carcinogen. Brazilian Blowout came under scrutiny in 2010 when its products, packaged and labeled as “formaldehyde free,” were found to release significant amounts of formaldehyde. Prompted by complaints from cosmetologists, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) began an investigation which would prove that the “formaldehyde-free” products did, in fact, contain an aqueous (hydrated) form of formaldehyde, also known as methylene glycol. When heated with a flat iron, methylene glycol releases water and formaldehyde gas into the salon. OSHA set a 15-minute short term exposure limit (STEL) of 2 parts formaldehyde per million parts air (ppm). The salons studied during the OSHA investigation had levels as high as five times the OSHA STEL. These findings led to salons being cited for using products that contained or could release formaldehyde, neglecting to follow the requirements in OSHA's formaldehyde standard, and failing to provide workers training and information on the health hazards and symptomatic signs of exposure to formaldehyde. However, this problem has not been completely eradicated.


Social Networking:
Share |


Item Type: Other Thesis, Dissertation, or Long Paper (Master Essay)
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Frawley, Kristin Lkrf34@pitt.eduKRF34
ContributionContributors NameEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairPeterson, Jimjpp16@pitt.eduJPP16UNSPECIFIED
Committee MemberVukotich, Jr, Charlescharlesv@pitt. edu.UNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Committee MemberSharma, Ravirks1946@pitt.eduRKS1946UNSPECIFIED
Date: 26 August 2013
Date Type: Publication
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Publisher: University of Pittsburgh
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Public Health > Environmental and Occupational Health
Degree: MPH - Master of Public Health
Thesis Type: Master Essay
Refereed: Yes
Date Deposited: 11 May 2015 20:06
Last Modified: 30 Mar 2022 10:55


Monthly Views for the past 3 years

Plum Analytics

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item