A recent analysis was published in Environmental Research Apr 23 that calls for user attention. The study was run by researchers from the Silent Spring Institute in Newton, Massachusetts. It says that common hair products used by black women and children to relax or straighten hair contain chemicals associated with endocrine disruption and asthma.
Specifically, 18 tested hair care products each contained 6 to 30 endocrine-disrupting or asthma-associated chemicals.
This may help explain why black women have a higher incidence of premature puberty, uterine fibroids, infertility, and more aggressive forms of breast and uterine cancer. These chemicals are also associated with asthma, a chronic condition more prevalent in black women and children.
The researchers caution that the degree of risk from these exposures is uncertain, though the antiandrogenic and estrogenic effects may be additive.
Manufacturers should label the ingredients clearly on all personal care products, and patients may approach their physician with questions about the safety of these products. More research is needed to give us better answers, but the current study provides troubling results.