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Hairdresser Using Curling Tongs On Client In Salon

Source: Willie B. Thomas / Getty

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has announced plans to propose a ban on certain hair-straightening products. This includes products like chemical relaxers and pressing products that have been linked to serious health risks that are specifically marketed to and impact women of color. The news was discovered on Friday, Oct. 13, from an entry in the Unified Agenda.

According to the entry, the agency plans to “specifically ban hair-straightening products that contain formaldehyde and other formaldehyde-releasing chemicals like methylene or glycol,” which scientists have linked to an increased risk of ovarian, breast and uterine cancer, especially among Black and Latina women.

“Based on the comments, we might decide to end the rulemaking process, to issue a new proposed rule, or to issue a final rule. If we decide to issue a final rule, we publish the final rule in the Federal Register,” the FDA explained on its website.

This new proposal comes after Reps. Ayanna Pressley, D-Massachusetts, and Shontel Brown, D-Ohio initially encouraged the agency to conduct a “thorough and transparent investigation” into hair straightening products and their links to uterine cancer. After hearing the news of the potential rule, Pressley expressed her satisfaction with the proposal, calling the proposal a “win for public health” and especially a win for “the health of Black women” who are most often put at risk by these products as a result of “systemic racism and anti-Black hair sentiment.”

She continued by explaining that [Black women] should be allowed to show up without “putting our health at risk,” while applauding the FDA for responding to her calls for awareness.

Although the proposed rule was announced on Friday, the potential ban won’t be immediate as the FDA’s rulemaking process can take a couple of years to finalize. However, regardless of the lengthy process, many believe that the proposal is a step in the right direction in the prevention of cancer-causing products being marketed to Black and Latina women in the name of beauty.

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