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Federal Food & Drug Administration Moves To Ban Formaldehyde In Hair Straighteners

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (#FDA) is poised to propose banning formaldehyde in hair-straightening products after years of mounting concern over health risks, particularly for Black women who heavily use these products. 

However, critics argue that this action is overdue and insufficient. The delay in addressing formaldehyde in hair care products reflects both scientific advancements and regulatory limitations, leaving consumers, especially Black women, at risk. Formaldehyde exposure from hair straighteners has been linked to various cancers, yet the proposed ban may not adequately address other harmful chemicals present in these products, such as phthalates and parabens.

Despite calls for stricter regulation, the FDA's response has been sluggish, prompting frustration among advocates. The disproportionate impact on Black women is evident, with studies showing higher usage rates of hair relaxers and an elevated risk of hormone-related cancers. 

The cultural significance of hair straightening in Black communities adds complexity to the issue, with some arguing for a ban on formaldehyde while preserving cultural practices. However, the broader solution lies in addressing the array of hazardous chemicals present in hair products used by Black women and children.

Ultimately, while a formaldehyde ban represents a step forward, it falls short of addressing the systemic issues underlying the use of harmful chemicals in hair care products, highlighting the need for comprehensive regulatory reform to safeguard public health, particularly within marginalized communities.

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Link: NPR


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