AUSTIN (KXAN) – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration will likely ban some hair straightening products that contain ingredients thought to increase the risk of hormone-related cancers.
The FDA released a rule proposal to ban the use of formaldehyde and other chemicals that release formaldehyde in products designed to straighten or smooth hair. Before the ban becomes official, likely in April 2024, the FDA is accepting public comment, which can be submitted online.
Research in recent years has suggested that hair straightening products may increase the risk of hormone-related cancers, such as breast and uterine. Other research has linked the use of hair straightening products and more short-term health issues, such skin reactions and breathing difficulties.
One study published in Jan. 2023 noted that while 1.64% of women who never used hair straightening chemicals developed uterine cancer by the time they were 70, that risk rose to 4.05% in the women who did use the products.
Further, hair straightening products containing the chemicals are commonly used and heavily marketed to Black women, potentially contributing to racial disparities in uterine cancer, according to research.
The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration already required manufacturers to include safety warning on products that contain a risky level of formaldehyde or products that release formaldehyde into the air.
The OSHA said some hair manufactures and distributors might intentionally omit information on chemicals that release formaldehyde into the air. The OSHA has a comprehensive list of chemicals that can expose users to formaldehyde on its website.