California’s Black Well being Community highlights ties between cosmetics and cancer-causing chemical substances – State of Reform

California’s Black Well being Community highlights ties between cosmetics and cancer-causing chemical substances – State of Reform

California’s Black Well being Community teamed up with Breast Most cancers Prevention Companions to extend consciousness about chemical substances in magnificence merchandise which might be linked to well being considerations, particularly amongst Black girls, via the Non-Poisonous Black Magnificence Challenge.

The Non-Poisonous Black Magnificence Challenge started in 2020 through the wake of the tragic murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery via the Marketing campaign for Protected Cosmetics (CSC). With the steerage and help of an Advisory Committee made up of main non-governmental companies and scientists working to enhance Black girls’s well being, together with the manager director of California’s Black Well being Community, Rhonda Smith, the Non-Poisonous Black Magnificence Challenge was launched.


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 As a rising variety of Individuals emphasised supporting and purchasing black-owned companies in wake of the Black Lives Matter motion of 2020, social media exploded with a listing of really useful Black-owned companies. CSC turned involved that lots of the lists of Black-owned magnificence manufacturers really useful by influencers and the mainstream media consisted of merchandise made with poisonous elements, and CSC knew that Black girls had been already over-exposed to poisonous magnificence merchandise resulting from racist and sexist Eurocentric magnificence requirements.

“Black girls {and professional} salon employees expertise a few of the highest charges of exposures to poisonous chemical substances within the beauty merchandise they use on themselves and their youngsters or work with every day,” said the Non-Poisonous Black Magnificence Challenge. “Greater than 40 different nations have stricter beauty security laws than the US.”

The European Union banned almost 1,800 chemical substances from magnificence and private care merchandise which might be identified to trigger most cancers, delivery defects, and reproductive hurt. In response to the Non-Poisonous Black Magnificence Challenge, the US Meals and Drug Administration (FDA) has solely banned or restricted 11 elements from cosmetics thus far. 

The Challenge additionally states that cosmetics is without doubt one of the least regulated client merchandise in the marketplace, and that the FDA doesn’t have authority to recall unsafe merchandise, and doesn’t require pre-market security testing of beauty elements.

Roughly 7,000 Black girls within the US die of breast most cancers yearly. Black girls have the very best breast most cancers mortality charge of any racial and ethnic group in the USA, and face different well being disparities, together with earlier onset of puberty, and better charges of hormone mediated points, akin to preterm births and uterine fibroids.

Black girls are 9 instances extra doubtless to buy hair care merchandise than any demographic. The common lady makes use of about 12 completely different magnificence and private care merchandise on a regular basis, creating an publicity to about 168 poisonous chemical substances. The Challenge states that many of those chemical substances are hormone disruptors which have been linked to diabetes, endometriosis, infertility, weight problems, breast and ovarian cancers, and uterine fibroids. Some merchandise that declare to be pure or natural can comprise dangerous chemical substances. Chemical exposures additionally exist for skilled salon employees, lots of whom are Black girls and different Folks of Coloration, who use probably hazardous merchandise day-after-day of their work, akin to bleaches and relaxers, amongst others.

Poisonous elements to look out for

Major merchandise of concern embody hair, akin to dyes, straighteners, and relaxers; make-up, together with coloration cosmetics, and fragranced merchandise; and skincare, akin to sunscreen and pores and skin lighteners. Black girls who use chemical hair straighteners are 30% extra doubtless to develop breast most cancers, and Black girls who often dye their hair have a 60% elevated threat for breast most cancers.

“Common use of chemical relaxers and straighteners have additionally been prompt to extend the danger of breast most cancers in Black girls, notably amongst girls who use these merchandise incessantly, began utilizing these merchandise in childhood or adolescence, or use lye-based relaxers,” mentioned the Non-Poisonous Black Magnificence Challenge.

  • Alkylphenols is present in hair relaxers, root stimulators, hair lotions, and sizzling oils. Well being harms related to alkylphenols embody endocrine disruption, developmental hurt, and reproductive hurt.
  • Benzyl Salicylate is present in shampoo, conditioner, make-up, and skincare, with well being harms together with endocrine disruption and breast most cancers. 
  • Butylated Compounds (BHA and BHT) are present in lipstick, eyeliner, eyeshadow and physique care. Well being considerations associated to those chemical substances embody most cancers, hormone disruptions, irritants, and organ system toxicity.
  • Carbon Black and D&C Black 2 are present in eyeliner, eyeshadow, mascara, nail polish, brush-on-brow, and lipstick, with well being harms together with most cancers, organ system toxicity, and irritants.
  • DMDM Hydantoin and Diazolidinylure are present in hair, physique, and skincare merchandise. Well being considerations embody most cancers, endocrine disruption, maternal well being points, respiratory points, and irritants.
  • Ethyl, Methyl, and Propyl parabens are present in hair, physique, and skincare, make-up, and sunscreen. Well being considerations embody most cancers, endocrine disruption, early onset of puberty, endometriosis, being pregnant problems, and maternal well being points.
  • Formaldehyde is present in eyelash glue, nail polish and coverings, and hair straighteners, with harms together with most cancers and respiratory points.
  • Perfume is present in fragrance; physique spray; hair, pores and skin, and physique care; and child care merchandise. Well being harms embody most cancers, hormone disruption, reproductive hurt, developmental hurt, and respiratory hurt.
  • PFAS chemical substances are present in long-lasting waterproof lipstick, mascara, eyeliner, and anti-frizz and hair merchandise. Well being harms embody endocrine disruption, most cancers, and reproductive hurt.
  • Resorcinol, O, M & P – Phenylenediamine are present in hair dyes and have been tied to most cancers, hormone disruption, immune system toxicity, and irritants.
  • Toluene is present in nail polish, cuticle remedies, and different nail remedies, inflicting reproductive hurt, developmental hurt, nervous system toxicity, and kidney and liver toxicity.
  • UV Filters, akin to benzophenone, oxybenzone, homosalate, octinoxate, and avobenzone are present in sunscreen, nail merchandise, anti-frizz merchandise, hair lotions, leave-in conditioners, sizzling oils, make-up, and child care merchandise. Well being harms embody endocrine disruption and developmental hurt. 

To curb the usage of merchandise containing poisonous chemical substances, CSC suggests studying the ingredient labels to keep away from chemical substances of concern, selecting merchandise with less complicated ingredient lists, utilizing fewer merchandise, and utilizing an app akin to Clearya or Assume Soiled to search out out whether or not merchandise are poisonous whereas purchasing. 

The Non-Poisonous Black Magnificence Challenge developed a “Pink Listing,” which is a useful resource for companies to evaluate the protection of elements in merchandise bought. In addition they developed a listing of prime Black-owned magnificence manufacturers, which incorporates Women with Curls, Sienna Naturals, Eleven by Venus Williams, and Oui the Folks, amongst others.