Health Risks of Formaldehyde
If you work with hair products that contain formaldehyde, you can be exposed to the chemical by:
- Breathingit in through your nose and mouth
- Getting it on your skin
- Getting it in your eyes or mouth
Formaldehyde is a known cancer-causing substance. Exposure to formaldehyde can also cause:
- Eye irritation and damage, including blindness.
- Nose irritation, including bloody noses.
- Skin sensitivity, rashes, and itching.
- Breathing difficulties, such as coughing and wheezing.
Levels of formaldehyde above 0.1 ppm in the air can irritate your nose, throat, and lungs. These symptoms will get worse as formaldehyde levels go up.
How to Know if Products Contain or Release Formaldehyde?
Formaldehyde is a strong-smelling gas used in many products. Hair products may have formaldehyde dissolved (and chemically reacted) in water and often the reacted formaldehyde is called methylene glycol.
Even smoothing products that do not list formaldehyde on the label, or that claim to be “formaldehyde free” or “no formaldehyde,” can still expose workers to formaldehyde. Some products violate regulations by not listing their formaldehyde content on the label, and some contain during use, typically when the product is heated, such as during flat-ironing or blow-drying.
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