The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is taking a significant step towards protecting public health by proposing a ban on the use of formaldehyde in hair relaxers. Formaldehyde, a colourless and highly toxic chemical, has been linked to cancer and other long-term adverse health effects.
The proposed ban specifically targets high-straightening and hair-smoothing products, commonly known as relaxers, which are widely used. These products include chemical relaxers, Brazilian blowouts, and keratin treatments.
The FDA's proposed rule aims to raise awareness about the potential harm that formaldehyde poses, especially to the Black community. By banning its use in hair relaxers, the FDA hopes to safeguard the health and well-being of consumers.
Why the Concern?
Formaldehyde is a known carcinogen, meaning it has the potential to cause cancer. Prolonged exposure to this chemical has been associated with an increased risk of developing various types of cancer, including nasal and nasopharyngeal cancer.
Many hair relaxers on the market contain formaldehyde as an ingredient, which is released as a gas when these products are heated. The fumes can be inhaled, absorbed through the skin, or come into contact with the eyes, putting users at risk of exposure to this dangerous chemical.
The Proposed Ban and Its Implications
The FDA's proposed ban on hair relaxers containing formaldehyde is scheduled for April 2024. This ban aims to eliminate the use of this hazardous chemical in products that are applied directly to the scalp and hair.
By implementing this ban, the FDA acknowledges the disproportionate impact on the Black community, who are more likely to use hair relaxers and other similar products. This ban serves as a step towards addressing the health disparities faced by Black women and protecting their well-being.
It is important for consumers to be aware of the potential risks associated with hair relaxers and choose safer alternatives. Fortunately, there are formaldehyde-free options available in the market that can help individuals achieve their desired hairstyle without compromising their health.
The FDA's proposal to ban formaldehyde in hair relaxers is a significant move towards protecting public health, particularly for those who frequently use these products. By raising awareness about the potential cancer risks and other health concerns associated with formaldehyde, the FDA aims to ensure the well-being of consumers.