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FDA Seizes Hair Relaxer for Causing Hair Loss, Green Hair

January 24, 1995

WASHINGTON (AP) _ The Food and Drug Administration has seized tens of thousands of bottles of ``Rio″ hair relaxer products after deciding they can cause severe hair loss or turn hair green.

The FDA last month warned consumers not to use ``Rio Hair Naturalizer Systems,″ a product imported from Brazil and sold through television infomercials by World Rio Corp. of Los Angeles.

While the company said it had stopped selling the products, the FDA received reports that it continued to take orders and bill consumers. Meanwhile, the agency received more than 1,800 reports of people claiming the products caused everything from severe scalp irritation and hair loss to green hair.

So Monday, U.S. marshals in Los Angeles seized tens of thousands of Rio bottles from a packaging center, and the California Department of Health has placed an embargo against future imports.

FDA scientists determined the products can cause injury and that while the labels call the relaxants low-acid and chemical-free, they in fact are highly acidic. Plus, they contain a copper salt that could cause the color change.

World Rio couldn’t be reached for comment.

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