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FDA proposes ban on formaldehyde in hair relaxers

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The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has proposed a ban on the use of formaldehyde in hair relaxers.

Hair relaxers are products used to straighten and smooth curly or kinky hair.

They typically contain formaldehyde, a known carcinogen, as well as other harsh chemicals.

The FDA’s proposed ban is based on growing evidence of the health risks associated with formaldehyde exposure.

Formaldehyde is a colorless, flammable gas at room temperature with a pungent odor.

Further, it’s also produced and used in a variety of products, including building materials, wood products, furniture, textiles, and cosmetics.

Black women sometimes drive hours to see Jackie Page Christian at Six17 Salon in Seattle. Lashawn Jenkins, who styles hair in Bellevue, says the same thing. The Seattle-area hair stylists are helping clients find pride, identity and community in their natural hair.” (Daniel Kim, Ramon Dompor and Corinne Chin / The Seattle Times)

Formaldehyde is a known human carcinogen

It has been linked to an uptick of certain cancers, including uterine cancer, nasal cancer, and leukemia.

Black women are disproportionately affected by the use of hair relaxers, and they are also more likely to develop uterine cancer.

A 2022 study found that Black women who used hair relaxers were more than twice as likely to develop uterine cancer as Black women who did not.

The FDA’s proposed ban has been welcomed by many health experts, who say that it is a needed step to protect the health of Black women in particular.

Moreover, the agency will review the comments and make a final decision about the ban in the coming months. If the ban is finalized, it would go into effect within 18 months.

In the meantime, the FDA recommends avoiding hair relaxers that contain formaldehyde.

If you do use hair relaxers, be sure to follow the directions carefully and wear gloves and a mask to protect yourself from exposure to the chemicals.

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