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Calls For Regulation Of Hair-Smoothing Products

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FILE -- A woman receives a hair makeover. (Photo by Brendon Thorne/Getty Images)

FILE — A woman receives a hair makeover. (Photo by Brendon Thorne/Getty Images)

diamond_feature Marla Diamond
I began my career at WCBS in the fall of 1997 as the station's New...
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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) – Women will pay hundreds of dollars to get straight hair, but some members of Congress say they may be putting their health at risk and want the FDA to regulate products containing formaldehyde.

Upper east sider Faye Lipwack has silky straight hair, even in the summer heat. But it wasn’t always that way. “My whole life changed once I started using the keratin treatment,” she said.

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But the formaldehyde-based treatment can irritate the eyes, skin and lungs and cause breathing problems. “The smell was, I mean I had to cover my eyes,” said Lipwack.

It’s that reaction that has many New York stylists switching to formaldehyde-free hair straighteners. At the Simadi Salon on East 64th Street, owner Adia Lonnie uses a solution of lanolin and sodium sulfite, the same agent used to preserve dried fruit.

“This is the middle of the summer and whoever I gave this treatment to, not even one complaint,” said Lonnie.

The treatment costs about $225 and lasts three to four months.

The Cosmetic Ingredient Review, an independent group, plans to complete a study on products that use formaldehyde in September, but released a revised tentative conclusion in June that said “formaldehyde and methylene glycol are unsafe for use in hair smoothing products.”

The FDA is still evaluating the data on such hair straighteners.

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(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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