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Formaldehyde in Cosmetology Products
Oregon OSHA Rules Adopted
Photo courtesy of Oregon OSHA
A research report issued by the Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Division (Oregon OSHA) indicates that the use of hair smoothing and straightening products containing formaldehyde raises health and safety concerns for cosmetology practitioners.
Oregon OSHA currently has procedures and protocols in place for employers and employees using products with specific levels of formaldehyde, including formaldehyde in liquid form, sometimes known as methylene glycol.
To ensure public protection, the Health Licensing Office (HLO) and Board of Cosmetology have adopted administrative rules by referencing current Oregon OSHA standards under Oregon Administrative Rule (OAR) 437-002-0360(31).
The rule provides the agency with the authority to:
  • Require all authorization holders, including but not limited to independent contractors and demonstration permit holders, to comply with the requirements under OAR 437-002-0360(31).

  • Inspect and investigate specified individuals.

  • Sanction any individuals who are failing to comply.
Click here to access Oregon OSHA's formaldehyde rules that OHLA / Board of Cosmetology are adopting.

Oregon OSHA Hazard Alert
Oregon OSHA has produced a hazard alert to provide an overview of formaldehyde, exposure hazards and limits, and what salons are required to do to reduce exposure to formaldehyde.
Click here to access Oregon OSHA's hazard alert.

Recent Formaldehyde Research
Oregon OSHA and the Center for Research on Occupational and Environmental Toxicology (CROET) at Oregon Health Sciences University (OHSU) issued a research report on October 29, 2010 related to formaldehyde in hair smoothing and straightening products.
Click here to access the research report, "Keratin-Based" Hair Smoothing Products and the Presence of Formaldehyde.
Other Names for Formaldehyde
Facility owners and practitioners should check product labeling and the material safety data sheet (MSDS) to determine if the product contains formaldehyde, which can also be called any of the following:
  • Formalin
  • Formic Aldehyde
  • Paraform
  • Formol
  • Formalin (Methanol-free)
  • Fyde
  • Formalith
  • Methanal
  • Methyl Aldehyde
  • Methylene Glycol
  • Methylene Oxide
  • Tetraoxymethalene
  • Oxomethane
  • Oxymethylene