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Safety of hair creams is the topic of a technical meeting between Anvisa and companies.

On February 17th, Anvisa held a technical meeting with companies that manufacture hair creams. The meeting was attended by over 400 participants and was held virtually. The idea of the meeting was to update the companies on the progress of investigations into the alleged cause of serious adverse events that were related to the use of hair creams.

According to data from the investigation in Rio de Janeiro, more than 3,000 ophthalmological consultations were registered in a single emergency hospital in the capital until 2/7. Of these, 685 cases were confirmed as exogenous intoxication, that is, caused by external factors, temporally related to the use of this type of cosmetic to model and braid hair.

So far, there have been 780 cases accounted for by Anvisa related to the use of these products, already including the aforementioned ones, arising from the investigation in Rio de Janeiro. Among these cases, the majority sought medical care due to adverse events caused by the use of the products. Among the reported symptoms and signs, the most common ones were:  inflammation of the cornea (keratitis), eye pain, scratching (abrasion) of the cornea, eye burning, eye redness (hyperemia), foreign body sensation in the eye, and loss of visual clarity and sharpness (acuity).


Current status of the products investigated.

Situação atual dos produtos investigados.

Anvisa highlighted that all creams, whether for styling, fixing, or braiding hair, are prohibited in a preventive manner, until the moment in which the reasons for the reactions are identified. So far there is no determination to recall all the products, but they are prevented from being sold.

This decision was taken after a risk assessment carried out by the Agency and complied with given the growth in the number of cases with serious undesirable effects due to the use of this type of product close to the Carnival festivities.

The virtual presentation carried out by the Hygiene, Perfume, Cosmetics, and Sanitation Products Management of the Agency shed light on the main actions implemented by Anvisa and the supposed causes of the adverse reactions that are under investigation. Also during the meeting, the Agency left a warning to manufacturers regarding the mandatory technical requirements for cosmetic products and the importance of sticking to the list of authorized ingredients for this type of cosmetics, under no circumstances using those characterized as prohibited.

It was also pointed out that if the required requirements are not met, this may cause the cancellation of the authorizations.


What about the manufacturer’s responsibility?

In the meantime, Anvisa emphasized that the safety of products must be guaranteed by manufacturers according to the indicated use. Director Alex Campos reinforced that the Agency’s commitment is to establish an action plan to identify the regulatory solution in the shortest time possible. In this way, the products can return to the market with their safety guaranteed, protecting the health of the users.

Anvisa also reinforced that it will make every possible effort to discover the cause of adverse reactions quickly, dealing with the problem more effectively and globally and seeking a horizontal regulatory solution.

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