WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal safety regulators say a popular hair smoothing treatment called Brazilian Blowout can release unsafe levels of the chemical formaldehyde, posing a risk to hair salon workers and their customers.

Formaldehyde, which has been classified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as a probable carcinogen, can irritate the eyes, skin and lungs and cause breathing problems and skin rashes.

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Government regulators also say they have found the chemical in a variety of hair products that are labeled “formaldehyde-free.”

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The Occupational Safety and Health Administration says it is investigating complaints from stylists and hair salon owners about the products.

Many hair products contain formaldehyde, but government regulations specify the amount, labeling and appropriate use of the ingredient.

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