Chemicals In Black Hair Products Linked To Asthma, Hair Loss, & Miscarriage

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It might be time to stop with the creamy crack, ladies. According to The Atlantic reports the chemicals in relaxers and products can slowly kill you!

When Teni Adewumi surveyed African American salon workers in Inglewood, California, she kept seeing the same health concerns over and over. Asthma. Dermatitis. Hair loss. Uterine fibroids. Miscarriage. Veteran stylists told her they experienced symptoms when they applied relaxers and other chemical hair straighteners, and they now preferred working with natural styles. But many didn’t know that the products they used could be making them sick.

Adewumi, a graduate student at the University of California, Los Angeles, Fielding School of Public Health, works to close that knowledge gap as the environmental-justice program coordinator at the California nonprofit Black Women for Wellness. In salons across Inglewood and South Los Angeles, she helps train stylists in safe products and practices, from ventilation and personal protective equipment to ergonomics and label comprehension. But her work is also part of a nationwide effort to make beauty salons safer for the people—mostly women—who work in them.

That starts with research. Epidemiological studies dating back to the 1980s have found that hair stylists are at risk for a range of chronic occupational-health conditions, including skin and respiratory diseases and adverse reproductive outcomes. Certain toxic chemicals found in hair glues and straighteners, such as formaldehyde, styrene, and trichloroethylene, have been linked to cancer, liver damage, and dermatitis.

What can stylists do to protect themselves?

“When we held focus groups with salon workers, we found these stories of lack of education on chemical exposures and chemical-related health problems,” Adewumi says. “Even though they had all gone to beauty school, there was just really no training around what these products could do to your body and to your reproductive system.”

To protect salon workers across the board, federal cosmetic regulations will need to change. Scranton and Adewumi want to see legislation that requires manufacturers to list ingredients on all beauty-product labels; bans ingredients linked to cancer, birth defects, and developmental harm; empowers the FDA to recall unsafe products; and enforces stricter salon safety standards. With the powerful chemical lobby standing in the way, advocates have their work cut out for them.

Have you recently stopped using relaxers or chemicals in your hair? Read more about toxic chemicals in Black hair salons and products HERE.

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