Chemicals Hair Products Linked To Cancer
By Pierre Mouchette | Bits-n-Pieces
Formaldehyde and formaldehyde-releasing chemicals put salon workers at significant risk. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has warned that working with formaldehyde may increase your chances of having fertility problems or a miscarriage.
Hair straighteners are frequent among women in the U.S. Many, particularly Black women, feel social pressure to have straight hair. In the NIEHS study, almost 60 percent of the women who reported ever using chemical straighteners were Black, and the new research highlights the health risks they face.
Salon workers are also exposed daily to chemicals in hair products. Aside from the health hazards caused by inhaling formaldehyde fumes, hair straighteners contain harmful chemicals absorbed through the scalp and worsen the burns caused by the straighteners. Past studies linked exposures to hair straightening chemicals with an increased risk of breast and ovarian cancer. New research now shows a link to uterine cancer.
Calling for safer products
Hair straighteners, like all personal care products, may be brought to market without approval for safety by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Despite formaldehyde being a potent allergen, sensitizer, and carcinogen, the FDA has not banned it in hair straightening or smoothing products. Formaldehyde-laced hair straighteners are still sold and commonly used by salons.
More substantial federal supervision of the cosmetic industry is needed to keep dangerous products off shelves and protect public health.
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