Current law removes The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), a powerful government entity, from the approval process for cosmetics and ingredients before market introduction. Color additives are the only product under their purview.
While those in the business of selling these types of products are legally responsible for ensuring safe use, federal law and regulations are not mandated to share safety data with the FDA.
Research reveals serious risks
Chemical hair relaxers or straighteners are popular products. However, recent research reveals possible dangers of using the products. Specifically, the products contained ingredients that included various dangerous formaldehyde and other elements.
Formaldehyde is a colorless, highly flammable, toxic gas found in medicines, cosmetics, and other household products. Exposure can irritate the eyes, skin, lungs, and throat. On the other end of the spectrum is the possibility of certain types of cancers.
Even more alarming, products that don’t even have formaldehyde as a primary ingredient can still convert into formaldehyde when heated, similar to what is found in hair-straightening products.
The presence of those chemicals is causing respiratory issues. However, many women who used the products more than four times in the prior year were more than two times as likely to develop uterine and other types of cancer.
To make matters worse, products have minimal federal government regulations. Ingredient labels lack the information necessary for people to make an educated and safe decision.
In response, the FDA is considering banning formaldehyde in hair relaxers. Until the ban is in place, the agency is discouraging consumers from using these products. Instead of publishing phthalates and parabens, the language is altered to safer wording, such as fragrance and preservatives.
Regardless of the product, full disclosure is paramount for consumers to not only trust manufacturers but also rely on the safety of what they are placing into the market.