FDA Proposes Ban On Hair Relaxers With Formaldehyde

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In the past several years there has been an uproar over the results of studies that linked the chemicals in relaxers to health issues in its consumers. These products, which have widely been used by Black women, are proven to have put them at risk for cancer.

The Food and Drug Administration is now proposing a ban on relaxers that have the chemical, formaldehyde, in them. Formaldehyde is a colorless gas that’s used in many relaxers. It can be found in building materials as well as household products like antiseptics, medicines, and cosmetics. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, being exposed to the chemical repeatedly over time can lead to cancer.

The proposed chemical ban is said to be a response to Reps. Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., and Shontel Brown, D-Ohio’s, open letter, which they sent in March. The letter asked the FDA to determine whether chemical hair straighteners contain carcinogens that increase the risk of developing uterine cancer.

“I applaud the FDA for being responsive to my and Congresswoman Brown’s calls to ban harmful chemicals in hair straighteners and relaxers,” Pressley said in a statement. “The public health — especially that of Black women — is at stake, which is why the Administration must finalize and implement this rule without delay.”