Hair Straighteners

Reporter: Helen Wellings

There is really danger in using the wrong product on anyone's hair, it could cause danger to our staff to our consumers it be causing danger to the salon owners

Margaret Mezrani says "If the product had formaldehyde in it and it was at an unsafe level then I definitely wouldn't get my hair done."

Helen "They're great for eliminating frizz and taming curls, especially in summer humidity but independent tests found certain hair straightening products used on tens of thousands of Aussie heads, have illegally high levels of the harmful, potentially deadly preservative, formaldehyde.

Peter Kell from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission "Formaldahyde can irritate the skin. In high levels it can also lead to cancer."

Helen "The 3 unsafe products used by most salons and available from hair care retail chains, are Keratin Complex Smoothing Therapy, Smoothing Therapy for Blond Hair and Express Blow-out imported by Australian supplier, Dateline Imports."

Peter "this is not a product that should be available in the market place."

Helen "Under the mandatory Australian Standard, formaldehyde levels must be lower than 0.2% to be safe. The Dateline Imports hair straightening products grossly exceed this legal limit - Keratin Complex Smoothing Therapy is 2.2%."

Peter "We found levels around ten or eleven times above the safe legal limit and that is not unacceptable and that is why we wanted it out of the market place as soon as possible."

Helen "Peter Kell, Deputy Chair of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission says "the company's had to recall all 3 products, they're not allowed to be sold or supplied."

Pierre Haddad "It takes an average of an hour and a half to two hours to do so what we do is we wash the hair with a shampoo just to make sure the hair is as dry as possible and then we apply the keratin based treatment on the hair mid length to end and then we dry it with the products on and then we iron at two hundred degrees with the products on."

Helen "Pierre Haddad owner of Pierre Haddad Hair Management steers well clear of hair straightening products loaded with formaldehyde. He makes his own formulae that's well below the legal limit to protect clients and staff, especially when heat's applied to the hair during straightening."

Pierre "especially when you are ironing the products. That's when it turns into gases and that is why we have to take the extra standards and procedures. Often the formaldyde will be quite fumey and some people are more sensitive than others, so they will feel it more than other people."

Margaret Mezrani "given the fact that it is on your hair for such a long time you have to be sure that it is safe."

Helen "With her high sensitivity, Margaret Mezrani makes sure she has only a safe straightener on her hair."

Margaret "do your research, go to a reputable operator and supplier and just make sure you know what you are getting into ahead of time."

Peter "If you get any irritation any rash any sort of reaction like that to a product you should potentially speak to your doctor but also alert the supplier. They're the sorts of things, as the product safety regulator, we want to hear about and it might be an indicator that we have got problems."