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Formaldehyde exposure during simulated use of a hair straightening product.
Stewart-M; Bausman-T; Kumagai-K; Nicas-M
J Occup Environ Hyg 2013 Aug; 10(8):D104-D110
Many hairstylists use hair straightening products that may potentially expose them and their clients to formaldehyde. One popular hair straightening product, Brazilian Blowout Acai Professional Smoothing Hair Solution, contains methylene glycol, a hydrated form of formaldehyde, and a small amount of nonhydrated (free) formaldehyde. This pilot study simulated product use procedures in a test chamber and measured associated formaldehyde concentrations in air via integrative sampling and a direct-reading instrument. Two different chamber air exchange rates (one and four per hour) were used. Breathing zone formaldehyde concentrations during some treatment steps exceeded the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) 15-min time-weighted average (TWA) exposure limit of 2 ppm and, during all steps, exceeded the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) recommended ceiling limit of 0.1 ppm and the ACGIH(R) threshold limit value [TLV(R)] ceiling of 0.3 ppm. The product used in the simulation was found to contain formaldehyde (the hydrated plus nonhydrated forms) at 120 mg/mL. Based in part on findings published by others, to keep airborne formaldehyde exposure levels below 0.1 ppm, it is recommended that only hair straightening products demonstrated by an independent third party to contain formaldehyde at less than 1 mg/mL be used.
Hairdressers; Hazardous-materials; Formaldehydes; Humans; Laboratory-testing; Simulation-methods; Air-sampling; Air-sampling-techniques; Air-quality-measurement; Exposure-chambers; Breathing-zone; Time-weighted-average-exposure; Permissible-concentration-limits; Exposure-levels; Exposure-limits; Case-studies; Cosmetics-workers; Carcinogens; Respiratory-system-disorders; Nasal-disorders; Eye-irritants; Scalp; Skin-absorption; Skin-exposure; Exposure-assessment
Mark Nicas, University of California, School of Public Health, 140 Warren Hall, Berkeley, CA 94720
Issue of Publication
Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene
University of California, Berkeley
Page last reviewed: January 29, 2021
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division