Newton, Mass. (April 25, 2018) – A new report published today in the journal Environmental Research shows that Black women are potentially exposed to dozens of hazardous chemicals through the hair products they use.
The study, by scientists at Silent Spring Institute, is the first to measure concentrations of endocrine-disrupting chemicals–substances that interfere with the body’s hormones–in a variety of hair products marketed at Black women. The findings could help researchers understand why Black women have higher exposures to hazardous chemicals than other groups and how these elevated exposures contribute to health disparities in the U.S. population.
“Chemicals in hair products, and beauty products in general, are mostly untested and largely unregulated,” says lead author Jessica Helm, PhD, a scientist at Silent Spring. “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.”
For instance, Black women go through puberty at younger ages, and have higher rates of hormone-mediated problems such as pre-term birth, uterine fibroids and infertility than other groups of women. Incidence rates of breast cancer and endometrial cancer among Black women are also
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