Hair straighteners are essential in Black hair salons to tame naturally kinky coils, also known as brittle 4C hair.
Hair relaxers are a $700 million industry in the United States. Companies like Softsheen Carson, TCB, L’Oréal, ORS, Revlon, and Luster’s have marketed hair relaxers to Black women for decades.
However, hair relaxers — also known as “creamy crack”, are being blamed for life-threatening conditions such as cancer and heart disease.
Almost 60 lawsuits have been filed against hair relaxer manufacturers in a Chicago federal court, according to Allure.com.
In an exclusive letter obtained by The Root, Democrat House Representatives Ayanna Pressley and Shontel Brown asked the Food and Drug Administration to review the safety of chemical hair straighteners.
“We write to request the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) conduct a thorough and transparent investigation to determine whether publicly available chemical hair straightening products contain carcinogens that lead to a higher risk of uterine cancer,” writes Pressley and Brown. “Black women use these products at a higher rate than others and could be disproportionately impacted. In order to protect public health, we urge the FDA to reevaluate the safety of these products.”
Pressley lost her hair due to Alopecia, which some believe can be triggered by corrosive hair relaxers.
“Consumers need to be reassured that the cosmetic products they use do not threaten their health,” write Pressley and Brown. “It is critical that the agency act quickly to address these legitimate concerns.”