Aerosol Hairspray Dangers Spray Safety

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Aerosol Hairspray Dangers
Spray Safety

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The Food and Drug Administration today warned consumers to be careful when using many aerosol hairspray products to avoid the danger of serious burns. These products may catch fire if exposed to an open flame.

"It's important for consumers to read and heed the warnings that appear on product containers and to keep them away from children," said FDA Commissioner David A. Kessler, M.D. "Hairspray fires are particularly dangerous to the user because the product is used around the head. Others nearby may also be injured."

Aerosol hairsprays that contain flammable ingredients are labeled with warning statements on proper use. While the exact wording and location on the label may vary, all provide this basic information: Flammable. Avoid heat, fire and smoking during use until sprayed hair is fully dry.

FDA's warning was prompted by recent reports of injuries and deaths resulting from aerosol hairspray-related fires. In many of these cases, inadvertent exposure of the aerosol hairspray to lit cigarettes, matches or lighters -- either directly or before the hairspray completely dried on the hair -- caused ignition and serious burns to a user's hair and upper body. Recently, a woman in Kansas suffered fatal burns after apparently trying to light a cigarette before the hairspray had completely dried on her hair.

As with many aerosol cosmetic and household products, the flammability of most aerosol hairsprays is attributable to the use of hydrocarbon propellants in combination with SD alcohol 40 solvent. This mixture has been widely used to replace chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), which were banned from aerosol propellent use in the United States in 1978 because of environmental concerns.

FDA is exploring ways to enhance the effectiveness of label warnings. The agency is also looking into new approaches for heightening consumer awareness of hairspray-related fire hazards to protect the public health.

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