At least one Calgary salon continued to offer the Brazilian Blowout hair treatment even after Health Canada issued a warning over its use.
That is, until Wednesday, when the distributors of the Brazilian Blowout Solution and the similar Global Keratin solution halted shipments of their products.
Saad Ahmad, owner of About U Hair & Esthetics in northwest Calgary, had been standing by Global Keratin.
He believed the amount of formaldehyde in the product was small enough that it would do no harm, and had been advertising the treatment at a sale price of $350.
"Whatever we've been using, we've never had problems with it," said Ahmad. "All the customers are happy with it and they come back and get it done again."
But he shut down the popular, pricey treatment on Wednesday, after hearing that his distributor halted shipments of the solution.
Toronto Barber and Beauty Supply said it's stopping all shipments of Global Keratin because of the controversy surrounding the Brazilian Blowout Solution. While Brazilian Blowout Solution manufacturers claim they don't use formaldehyde, Global Keratin admits that its solution does contain up to four per cent of the dangerous chemical.
Health Canada issued an advisory last week after it received complaints of burning eyes, nose, and throat, breathing difficulties, and one report of hair loss associated with use of the Brazilian Blowout Solution.
It said tests showed Brazilian Blowout Solution contained 12 per cent formaldehyde — about 60 times more than the allowable level of 0.2 per cent in cosmetics — and warned the product could be dangerous.
Calgary dermatologist Dr. Derek Woolner said even in small doses, formaldehyde can be dangerous, and induce allergies with prolonged use.
"Formaldehyde is identified as a known human carcinogen. People who are expected to handle this … have to wear special protective equipment, which I doubt is available in your standard hair salon," he said.
Emphasizing the danger, Woolner read off a bottle of formaldehyde: "Repeated or prolonged exposure increases the risk of cancer."
As for Ahmad, he said he wouldn't bring the product back until Health Canada says it's safe for use.