Why Having Black Hair Can Kill You

Earlier this year, Silent Spring Institute, a science research institute for environment, community and women’s health, presented results of the first study to measure the range of hormone disrupting chemicals in products used by black women.

According to Silent Spring scientist and lead author Jessica Helm, PhD,

“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.”

Of the 18 various hair products tested, there were found 45 endocrine disruptors that may explain a higher appearance of  hormone-related diseases in black women compared to other racial groups. These disruptors are associated with health problems which include reproductive disorders, birth defects, asthma and cancer.

Early puberty, early menstruation (which points to an increased risk to breast cancer) pre-term birth, uterine fibroids, infertility, diabetes, obesity, higher rates of asthma, are the noticeable health complications that are higher in black women. Besides these, breast and endometrial cancer are spreading among black women, whom are also susceptible to more aggressive forms of cancer than white women.

Black women use and spend more on hair products than other groups in the effort to meet up with social beauty norms, leaving them over-exposed to these toxic chemicals against which there is little protection.

Even though, manufacturers of these products do not declare every ingredient, users can limit their exposure to harm by looking out for products that say “paraben-free” or “fragrance-free” on the label, and choosing those that are plant-based or made with organic ingredients.

Here’s a list of the 18 products which were tested and found to be unsafe due to toxic chemicals:

  1. Alberto V05 Moisturizing Hot Oil
  2. John Frieda Collection Frizz-Ease Hair Serum Original Formula
  3. Schwarzkopf Citre Shine Anti-frizz Serum
  4. Smooth N Shine Polishing Instant Repair Hair Polisher, Extra Strength
  5. in(fus)ium 23 leave-in treatment (repair)ologie
  6. Organic Root Stimulator Fertilizing Serum Herbal Scalp Formula
  7. Organic Root Stimulator Olive Oil Extra Rich for Dry Thirsty Hair Crème de Cheveu
  8. Organic Root Stimulator Carrot Oil Strengthens Weak Damaged Hair
  9. Organic Root Stimulator Hair Mayonnaise Treatment For Damaged Hair
  10. Queen Helene Cholesterol Hair Conditioning Cream
  11. Hask Placenta Henna n Placenta
  12. Lusters Pink Classic Light Oil Moisturizer Hair Lotion
  13. BB Maximum Strength SuperGro conditioner with Vitamin E
  14. Razac Perfect for Perms Finishing Crème Daily Hairdressing & Scalp Conditioner
  15. Dax Pomade with Lanolin Bergamot Olive Oil Castor Oil
  16. Soft & Beautiful Just for Me No-Lye Conditioning Relaxer (Children’s Coarse Relaxer Kit)
  17. Fabu-laxer Super (Relaxer Kit)
  18. PCJ Pretty-n-Silky No-Lye Conditioning Crème Relaxer (Children’s Regular Kit)


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