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Toxic Chemicals found in Black women’s hair products

Many Black hair care products are laced with toxic chemicals, some not labelled. Do you know what chemicals you are putting in your hair or your children’s hair?

The study found that many Black women’s hair products contain high levels of toxins, but many ingredients are not listed on the packaging. The toxic ingredients lead to higher rates of breast cancer and fibroids. Black women have a disproportionately higher rate of fibroid cases than any other race, because the chemicals are endocrine and reproductive system disruptors. Especially in products like hair relaxers, that also cause scalp burns. This industry has historically been under regulated.

The Black hair industry made over 500 billion dollars in 2017 and will grow annually. Ultimately, companies need to do better.

Also, Black Women for Wellness, an U.S. based non profit advocacy group in California. They also worked to get a law passed in California requiring all product ingredients sold there to be listed by 2020. They summarized the research in a book called: Natural Evolutions Report: One Hair Story.

“Black women are over-exposed and under-protected from toxic chemicals,” says Janette Robinson Flint, executive director of Black Women for Wellness.

Do you think it’s important to start reading product ingredient labels? It can be daunting, by not even understanding the terms or being able to pronounce them. But any ingredient can be researched by a Google search. It’s important to know how these chemicals effect our bodies.

We have to thank the Silent Spring Institute for their work and research into these serious issues that plague Black women. Here is the link to the report results of testing Black hair care products:


Helm, J.S., M.N. Nishioka, J.G. Brody, R.A. Rudel, R.E. Dodson. 2018. “Measurements of Endocrine Disrupting and Asthma-Associated Chemicals in Hair Products Used by Black Women.” Environmental Research. doi:10.1016/j.envres.2018.03.030

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