hair salonOSHA is using a brand new web page to alert beauty salons to the dangers of certain hair products that contain excessive levels of formaldehyde.

OSHA’s new Hair Salons: Facts about Formaldehyde in Hair Smoothing Products web page provides information to salon owners and workers on formaldehyde in hair smoothing products, the requirements that salon owners and other employers need to meet under the formaldehyde and hazard communications standards when using hair smoothing products, and what OSHA investigations have found.

Formaldehyde can irritate the eyes and nose; can cause allergic reactions of the skin, eyes and lungs; and is a cancer hazard. Salon owners who opt to use products that may contain or release formaldehyde must follow the requirements of OSHA's formaldehyde and hazard communication standards.

So far this year, nearly 23 salons and beauty schools in eight states have been cited by the agency for failing to protect workers from overexposure and potential exposure to formaldehyde. OSHA also has issued citations to three manufacturers and two Florida-based distributors of hair products containing formaldehyde for failing to protect their own workers from possible formaldehyde exposure as well as to communicate the hazards of formaldehyde exposure to salons, stylists and consumers.

The agency has issued two hazard alerts about formaldehyde-containing products to hair salon owners and workers.