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FDA considering banning hair products linked to cancer risk

Certain straightening products that contain formaldehyde could be banned in the U.S. following a 2022 study showing a link to uterine cancer.
FDA considering banning hair products linked to cancer risk
Posted at 10:32 AM, Oct 17, 2023

The Food and Drug Administration is considering a ban on certain hair straightening products, claiming they are linked to some short-term and long-term health effects. 

The FDA said it's considering a ban on products made with formaldehyde and other formaldehyde-releasing chemicals such as methylene glycol from being used as hair straighteners. 

The FDA said long-term health effects can include an increased risk of certain cancers. The FDA added that these products are tied to short-term health effects such as sensitization reactions and breathing problems. 

Rep. Ayanna Pressley, D-Massachusetts, applauded the FDA's investigation into the products. She noted that a 2022 study showed that these products are disproportionately used by Black women, putting them at greater risk. 

She and Rep. Shontel Brown, D-Ohio, sent a letter to the FDA in March requesting a review of the products. 

“The FDA’s proposal to ban these harmful chemicals in hair straighteners and relaxers is a win for public health – especially the health of Black women who are disproportionately put at risk by these products as a result of systemic racism and anti-Black hair sentiment,” said Pressley. “Regardless of how we wear our hair, we should be allowed to show up in the world without putting our health at risk. I applaud the FDA for being responsive to our calls and advancing a rule that will help prevent manufacturers from making a profit at the expense of our health. The Administration should finalize this rule without delay.”

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Last year, the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences released a study that indicated women who used these products had a higher risk for uterine cancer compared to women who did not report using these products. 

“We estimated that 1.64% of women who never used hair straighteners would go on to develop uterine cancer by the age of 70; but for frequent users, that risk goes up to 4.05%,” said Alexandra White, lead author on the 2022 study. “This doubling rate is concerning. However, it is important to put this information into context — uterine cancer is a relatively rare type of cancer.”

The New York Department of Health released a list of products used to straighten hair that tested positive for formaldehyde:

- Brazilian Blowout Solution

- Brazilian Blowout Acai Professional Smoothing solution

- Brazilian Gloss Keratin Smoothing Gloss

- Cadiveu Brazilian Thermal Reconstruction

- Coppola Keratin Complex Smoothing Therapy, Natural Keratin Smoothing Treatment

- Coppola Keratin Complex Smoothing Therapy, Natural Keratin Smoothing Treatment, Light Wave

- Coppola Keratin Express Brazilian Smoothing Treatment

- Coppola Keratin Complex Smoothing Therapy

- Global Keratin Functional Keratin Hair Taming System Light Wave Chocolate

- Global Keratin Taming System Strawberry

- Global Keratin Taming System with Juvexin Strawberry Resistant

- Global Keratin Taming System with Juvexin Strawberry Light Wave

- IBS Beauty IStraight Keratin Advanced Keratin Treatment

- Kera Green Keratin and Protein Hair

- Marcia Teixeira Advanced Brazilian Keratin Treatment

- Marcia Teixeira Brazilian Keratin Treatment

- Marcia Teixeira Chocolate, extreme de-frizzing treatment

- Pro-Collagen RX Keratin Treatment

- QOD GOLD Solution

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