It seems that every other day there’s a new warning for consumers about toxic beauty products being sold on the market, and today appears to be no different. A recent study has revealed that hair products predominantly used by black women and children contain hazardous chemicals, Reuters reports.
Researchers conducting the study tested 18 different hair products—including hot-oil treatments, relaxers and conditioners—and found potentially harmful chemicals called endocrine disrupters in every product examined. These chemicals can interfere with the body’s hormone balance, leading to possible reproductive disorders, asthma or even cancer in those exposed.
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Of the 66 endocrine disrupters sought after within the products, as many as four to 30 disrupters were found in each of the tested hair products. Even worse, two products specifically created for children were discovered to contain the largest levels of banned chemicals, lead author Jessica Helm, a research fellow at the Silent Spring Institute in Newton, Massachusetts, told Reuters.
Researchers are speculating that these endocrine disruptors found in the everyday products could be a reason why African-American women enter puberty at an earlier age than other demographics. It could also provide proof for why African-American women tend to have higher rates of asthma and reproductive diseases as well.
“It’s widely known the U.S. is doing an inadequate job of testing and regulating chemicals,” Helm explained, noting that many cosmetic companies exclude chemicals from product labels if the ingredients can be categorized as a fragrance or if the company can prove it’s a “secret” component of the formula. In fact, it was reported that 84 percent of the chemicals discovered in the hair products examined in this study were not disclosed on product labels, proving just how obscure ingredient lists really are. But by omitting harmful chemicals from product labels, the United States protects and promotes the companies’ best interest over the consumers’ health, which is obviously a major issue for shoppers.
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Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time African-American beauty products have come under fire for being detrimental to customers. In 2016, a study found that one of every 12 beauty products marketed to African-American women were deemed “highly hazardous.” Yet, there’s still not a lot of research done on the topic and there’s currently a lack of natural, organic beauty product options geared towards African-Americans on the market.
Ultimately, this study is yet another example of why the U.S. need to crack down on harmful ingredients used in the cosmetics industry. After all, 11 of the products examined in this research contained chemicals that are prohibited in the European Union, so why should they be allowed in products sold in the United States? Ultimately, it’s our citizen’s lives at stake, and that shouldn’t be a risk cosmetic companies are allowed to take.