The Check-Up: Hair Straightener Taking Heat from FDA

Plus, smoking stigma and green cats—today's health headlines

• You may have heard news reports over the past year that a popular hair-straightening product contains unsafe chemicals that can make you (and salon workers) sick. The Food and Drug Administration has finally weighed in, issuing an official warning saying that the Brazilian Blowout contains dangerously high levels of formaldehyde, a known cancer-causing substance. The makers of the product say it’s safe to use, but tests have shown it to have formaldehyde levels of between 8.7 and 10.4 percent. By comparison, 0.2 percent is considered safe by the Cosmetic Ingredient Review Panel. Yeesh. I’ve never been happier to have naturally straight hair.

• Mid-century furniture might be all the rage thanks to Mad Men, but looks like Don Draper and his cohorts haven’t managed to turn the tide of public opinion on smoking. A recent Gallup poll found that 1 in 4 Americans say they respect a person less when he or she smokes; that’s up from 14 percent in the 1990s. And get this: Some smokers—about 5 percent—have less respect for other tobacco users. USA Today has the story.

• Green cats might hold the key to HIV treatments. No seriously, you gotta read this.