Professional Keratin Smoothing Council Addresses Safety ConcernsFounding 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 which addressed concerns about the safety of their products. Toxicologist Robert H. Golden, Potomac, Md., was on hand to field questions regarding 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 flatiron. 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 the eyes, nose and throat, it cannot 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.

The Professional Keratin Smoothing Council offers several categories of membership and encourages other manufacturers, distributors, stylists and students to get involved. Visit for more information or a membership application.

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