Chemical hair relaxers are gaining popularity in Africa, despite the potential cancer-causing ingredients used.

Sales of chemical hair relaxers decline in U.S., Canada, and Europe; companies now targeting Africa.

June 13th 2024.

Chemical hair relaxers are gaining popularity in Africa, despite the potential cancer-causing ingredients used.
Chemical hair straighteners often contain harmful ingredients such as formaldehyde, Bisphenol A, and parabens. These ingredients have been linked to an increased risk of cancer, according to a report published by the National Institutes of Health in 2023. In fact, researchers found that women who used chemical relaxers at least four times a year had twice the likelihood of developing uterine cancer compared to those who did not use these products.

Due to these concerning findings, both Brazil and Canada have implemented restrictions on the use of formaldehyde in hair relaxers. In addition, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration proposed a ban on the chemical last year. This has led to several lawsuits being filed by Black women against companies that produce these haircare products. One such lawsuit claims that the companies failed to properly warn consumers about the increased risk of cancer associated with their products.

As a result of the growing awareness about the dangers of hair relaxers, their use has decreased in the United States, Canada, and Europe. However, market research shows that sales of chemical relaxers have actually increased in some African countries. For example, sales in Tunisia and Kenya saw a significant 10% increase from 2017 to 2023.

Seyi Faladun-Liburd, co-director of feminist organization Level Up UK, believes that the expansion of these companies into Africa is problematic. She argues that they are able to bypass regulations that exist in other countries, which puts consumers at risk. Faladun-Liburd expressed her concerns to NBC News, saying, "Most consumers are likely unaware of the harmful effects of these hair relaxers. We don't expect companies to prioritize profit over our health."

Interestingly, companies such as L'Oreal and Godrej Consumer Products, which owns TCB Naturals, have expanded into Africa after facing lawsuits in the United States. When questioned about this, L'Oreal stated that the lawsuits had no "legal or scientific" merit and had no impact on their presence in Africa.

However, according to Sokolove Law, there have been over 8,000 lawsuits filed against L'Oreal USA and other companies for their hair relaxer products. This has led to increased pressure from Black congresswomen, resulting in the FDA proposing a crackdown on toxic chemicals in relaxers.

It is clear that the issue of harmful chemicals in hair relaxers is a global concern and needs to be addressed by companies and regulators alike. With increased awareness and action, we can work towards safer and healthier haircare products for all.

[This article has been trending online recently and has been generated with AI. Your feed is customized.]