Breaking News

How Safe Are Professional Hair Smoothers?

May 3, 2011

How Safe Are Professional Hair Smoothers?

How Safe Are Professional Hair Smoothers?

• John Bailey, chief scientist, Personal Care Products Council, released commentary on the recent Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) Expert Panel’s preliminary findings on the safety of two ingredients used in professional hair smoothing products.

On March 4, the CIR Expert Panel reached a tentative conclusion on the safety of formaldehyde and methylene glycol as they are used in cosmetics and in “professional use only” hair straightening and smoothing products.

“The Personal Care Products Council (PCPC) joined FDA and consumer groups several months ago in requesting that CIR review the safety of formaldehyde/methylene glycol as they are used in professional hair straightening and smoothing products, and we support these tentative findings of the CIR Expert Panel. Until the review is completed and regulatory authorities have had the opportunity to assess it and come to their own conclusions, we urge consumers to exercise caution in using these products.”

He added, “We urge FDA to work expeditiously with OSHA and appropriate state and local organizations to objectively determine if salon hair smoothing products emit levels of formaldehyde gas that are unsafe for consumers or salon workers under their intended conditions of use and taking into consideration salon ventilation practices. We recommend FDA take prompt and appropriate action to make sure these products have been fully tested and substantiated for safety under their conditions of use.”

CPSC Launches Consumer Website

• The U. S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) went live with, a database mandated by Congress as part of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act. Consumers are encouraged to visit the online portal to submit reports of harm or risks of harm, and to search for safety information on products they own or may consider buying.

“CPSC stayed on time and on budget in building this new database,” said chairman Inez Tenenbaum. “Through, consumers will have open access to product safety information that they have never seen before and the information will empower them to make safer choices.”

Following procedures set up by the law, CPSC will review all online reports and have five business days to transmit qualifying reports to the manufacturer, where practicable. Manufacturers then have 10 business days during which they may respond and provide comments and/or claims. At the end of the 10-day period, if all requirements are met, the report and the manufacturer’s comments will be posted on

It is important that consumers provide CPSC with information that is true and accurate to the best of their knowledge. Reports lacking required information will not be published. Similarly, information in a report of harm determined to be materially inaccurate within the 10 days provided to manufacturers to respond will not be published. Reports that potentially contain confidential information will have such data taken out before the report is posted.

“I believe that an informed consumer is an empowered consumer,” said Tenenbaum. “The ability for parents and consumers to search this database for incidents involving a product they already own or are thinking of purchasing will enable them to make independent decisions aimed at keeping their family safe.”

On Jan. 24, CPSC began registering businesses online and accepting reports through to test the system. Since then, consumers have filed about 1,500 reports online. Approximately 1,400 manufacturers have signed up on the business portal, so they can receive a copy of a report about their product in a timely manner via e-mail. Reports accepted during this test period will not be visible to the public but are being processed internally by CPSC as has been done with all reports in the past. Reports received now are visible and searchable by consumers.

CAPCO Expands Internet Outreach

• In an effort to further combat misleading and false information pertaining to aerosol products and strengthen its overall web-based outreach strategy, the Consumer Aerosol Products Council (CAPCO) has made improvements to its interactive website,

The retooled CAPCO website and web strategy seek to educate consumers, the media and teachers looking for interesting approaches to engaging students in science and the truth about aerosol product usage, according to the council. In addition to highlighting more information and a user-friendly navigation, the site also offers an interactive quiz, 10 individual teacher activities/lesson plans and five lab experiments.

“Given the growing popularity of internet-based communications, we’ve placed a greater emphasis on our Web 2.0 outreach and at the center of that strategy is an improved website,” said Joe Bowen, CAPCO chairman. “In order to educate people and provide them with useful information, you have to engage them where they are; whether it‘s online or in the classroom.”

The refreshed CAPCO website encourages more user interaction and a better overall visitor experience. Visitors can learn even more about aerosols in daily life by exploring the popular interactive Eco-Aerosols page.

For the information enthusiasts there are plenty of unique and interesting factoids and diagrams related to aerosol products and aerosol spray technology. Site visitors also can access additional information under the recently expanded “Resources” page.

More info: