Hair smoothing products can release high levels of formaldehyde.

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The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued a hazard alert on April 11, 2011 warning hair salon owners and workers about potential exposure to formaldehyde from using some hair smoothing and straightening products, including the Brazilian Blowout brand. (Formaldehyde helps bind keratin to hair, straightening it.)

Responding to complaints from workers, OSHA found evidence of dangerously high levels of formaldehyde in the air of salons using these hair-straightening products — even though the products are often listed as 'formaldehyde free.' The agency also found evidence of allergic reactions by workers and clients to the products, including nosebleeds and eye irritation.

Health warnings related to the treatment have been issued in many countries, some national health and safety organisations have taken a further step and have banned the product entirely.

Formaldehyde is a colourless gas with a characteristic pungent odour. It's widely used in many industries and causes severe health issues if used inappropriately.

It is highly toxic to humans, regardless of method of intake. Even very short-term exposure to formaldehyde irritates the eyes causing pain, redness, blurred vision and severe eye watering. It can irritate the nose and throat causing sneezing, soreness, coughing, shortness of breath, headaches and nausea.

Exposure to elevated levels can lead to accumulation of fluid in the lung (pulmonary oedema). A large exposure to formaldehyde is converted to formic acid in the body, leading to a rise in blood acidity, rapid-shallow breathing, hypothermia, and coma or death.

Long-term exposure causes chronically impaired lung function, skin hardening, swelling and flaking, dermatitis, allergic eczema, and cancer.

In order to ensure employees are not exposed to dangerous concentrations of Formaldehyde in the air, it is advised to detect and monitor levels with a suitable detection instrument. Real time results mean that potential over exposures can be identified as they occur, without the delay associated with laboratory analysis. If a dangerous level is detected employees can be evacuated until the risk is subdued.

'Overexposure to airborne formaldehyde is dangerous to health, but the risks can be substantially reduced if levels are regularly measured and monitored,' said PPM Technology’s MD John B Jones.

PPM Technology has significant experience in the design and development of instruments for accurate detection and measurement of Formaldehyde.

Our Formaldemeter range of instruments has been in existence for over 10 years. We continuously develop and improve the instruments to achieve better performance and features. Our latest instruments are the Formaldemeter htV-m and htV.

The Formaldemeter htV-m is able to accurately detect and monitor formaldehyde, temperature and humidity in real-time.  It can be used as a manual hand-held instrument or as a continuous monitoring device capable of up to one month of data-logging. The htV-M can precisely measure formaldehyde concentrations in parts per million (ppm) and mg/m3 over a wide range of temperature and humidity. The built in memory and real time clock enables the htV-m to log all 3 parameters and corresponding times, allowing improved monitoring and analysis opportunities.

The Formaldemeter htV is a manual hand-held instrument, which can take instantaneous single-point measurements of Formaldehyde, Temperature and Humidity. 

For more information please visit - www.ppm-technology.com

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