Yet again, black women are in serious danger. This time, by the hair products they so gladly use, according to a new American study whose sponsors were not disclosed.
The study said it found that black women could be exposed to hormone-disrupting chemicals through the use of certain hair products.
It was not clear who sponsored the latest hair study by scientists at Silent Spring Institute, as similar studies had been sponsored by competing hair product makers to create fear and win the markets.
The study was touted as the first to measure the concentrations of endocrine-disrupting chemicals — which interfere with the body’s hormones — in a variety of hair products marketed to black women.
The scientists reportedly looked at 18 different hair products including hot oil treatments, anti-frizz hair polishes, leave-in conditioners, root stimulators, hair lotions and hair relaxers.
The researchers claimed they tested each product for the presence and level of 66 endocrine disruptors that are associated with a variety of health problems including reproductive disorders, birth defects, asthma and cancer.
They said they found that the products contained a total of 45 endocrine disruptors, with each product containing anywhere between 6 and 30 of the chemicals tested for in the study.
All of the products contained fragrance chemicals and 78 percent contained parabens — preservatives commonly found in cosmetic products which have been shown to be endocrine-disruptors.
According to the study, Nonylphenols and diethyl phthalate were also commonly found in root stimulators, hair lotions and hair relaxers, and cyclosiloxanes were found more frequently in anti-frizz products.
The team also found that 84 percent of chemicals detected were not listed on the product label, with co-author Robin Dodson explaining that, “unfortunately, companies aren’t required to disclose everything that’s in their products, so it’s hard for consumers to make informed choices.”
“Chemicals in hair products, and beauty products in general, are mostly untested and largely unregulated,” says lead author Jessica Helm. “This study is a first step toward uncovering what harmful substances are in products frequently used by Black women, so we can better understand what’s driving some of the health issues they’re facing.”
Helm is now advising consumers to reduce the number of products they use, look for products that say “paraben-free” or “fragrance-free” on the label, and choose products that are plant-based or made with organic ingredients.
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