Several concerned parties have come together to form The Professional Keratin Smoothing Council, for the purpose of researching and educating both professionals and consumers about safety with the use of keratin treatments in salons. Many people are confused and concerned by recent media reports, and this group hopes to help everyone see the facts and understand the details.
From left: Edward Queveda, Paladin Law Group; Jeff Cardarella, Aerovex Systems; Tom Solomon, Keratin Complex; Lilly Balasanyan, Cadiveu USA; Marcelo Teixeira, Marcia Teixeira; Dr. Robert Golden, toxicologist; and Tom Bell, Cadiveu USA. Founding member, SalonTech, is not pictured.
Founding members of the Professional Keratin Smoothing Council—Cadiveu USA, Keratin Complex, Marcia Teixeira, Aerovex Systems and SalonTech—held a press conference at the Viceroy Hotel in Santa Monica to address concerns about the safety of their products. Toxicologist Robert H. Golden, Potomac, MD, was on hand to field questions from the press about issues that have arisen recently in regard to ingredients in keratin smoothing products, particularly methylene glycol, which can release traces of formaldehyde gas when heated.
Golden explained that the method of testing used by the government agencies to evaluate the amount of formaldehyde gas these products actually contain distorts the product in a manner that would never happen in a salon environment. “The tests are unrealistic and conducted under artificial conditions. They’re done using a closed vessel, where the product is heated above 700 degrees, which is much higher than the heat generated by any flat iron. They’ve also changed the pH of the product, which would not happen in a salon setting,” Golden said. “When these products are used under real-world conditions the emissions are well below what would be of concern.” Golden also pointed out that while formaldehyde can irritate eyes, nose and throat, it couldn’t enter the bloodstream if inhaled.
“There are legitimate concerns about formaldehyde, but products from members of the Council have lower exposure levels than the actionable levels established by the FDA and OSHA,” said Attorney Edward Quevedo, who represents the Council.
Recently, the Council submitted information about its products to the Cosmetic Ingredients Review (CIR) panel, which is scheduled to issue a report to the FDA in June. “We have submitted a significant report documenting how the current tests are not providing accurate information and want this information to be considered before a final recommendation is made to the FDA. We are encouraging them to postpone their findings until September after they’ve had a chance to review the information we’ve provided,” Queveda said. “We are confident that because of the margin of safety built into our products there is no harm to the stylist or the consumer if the products are used correctly.”
To prevent any adverse reactions to keratin smoothing products, the Council recommends that stylists follow the manufacturer’s instructions to the letter. Proper ventilation, like the chemical source capture system offered by Aerovex Systems, can also eliminate over-exposure to excessive levels of formaldehyde gas.
Jeff Cardarella, President of Aerovex Systems, says, “OSHA’s testing shows that some of these products can create irritating levels of formaldehyde during performance of smoothing services. This should tell every stylist that it is important to understand and follow all manufacturers’ instructions for safe use and proper handling. This is a good way to help minimize exposure to formaldehyde, as well as the many gases, vapors and dusts found in salons. Another very important recommendation that The Council recommends is for ALL salons to evaluate the efficiency of their ventilation systems. Some salons lack proper ventilation needed to ensure safety for the full range of chemical services offered, including color, bleach, artificial nail services and hair removal. New technologies have been developed that are highly effective for improving salon air quality. This is an often-overlooked tool that ALL salons need to protect workers and clients. The OSHA recently has issued a warning that should be a wakeup call for our industry. Salons MUST begin to consider ventilation as an important tool. You can’t cut hair without shears, and you can’t have a safe salon environment with proper and effective ventilation. The Council website will provide resources to help salon professionals stay informed and not only meet but exceed OSHA requirements for safety.”
The Professional Keratin Smoothing Council offers several categories of membership and encourages other manufacturers, distributors, stylists and students to get involved. Visit pksc.org for more information or a membership application.