The Black community has overcome plenty over the years. However, health still remains a huge misfortune for us. Black women in particular face great hardship when it comes to our overall health. As Malcolm X once said, “the Black woman is the most disrespected person in America.”
Among the common health concerns we’re faced with, breast cancer remains one of the major tragedies we face. Unfortunately, Black women diagnosed with “breast cancer are 40% more likely to die from the disease than white women.” Systemic factors such as delays in diagnosis and poorer health care have greatly contributed to this disparity.
Making matters worse, we tend to develop highly aggressive breast cancers that produce higher mortality rates. With statistics such as these, we’d think more would be done to stop these numbers from increasing. However, everyday life situations pose another threat and increase the risk of the average Black woman developing breast cancer.
Even such trivial things, like getting our hair done at the salon can threaten our health. While most of us enjoy dying our hair or having hair relaxers, those practices can destroy our natural hair curls. Even worse, they can lead to serious health complications.
In recent years, scientists have discovered that the chemicals found in hair relaxers could disrupt our hormone levels and functioning, raising our risk for breast cancer.
What’s In Our Hair Relaxer?
Recently, it’s become increasingly apparent that hair products geared toward Black hair aren’t owned by Black companies. Not to mention, most of them don’t have the best of intentions when it comes to treating our hair. Hair relaxers have especially become a huge problem amongst Black women.
According to a Silent Spring Institute study, 80% of Black hair products contained “endocrine-disrupting and asthma-causing chemicals.” Several products examined by researchers included hot oil treatments, leave-in conditioners, anti-frizz balms and even, relaxers. Probably the most disturbing news came after learning that hair relaxers for children contain the highest levels of chemicals. Furthermore, many of those chemicals have already been banned in the EU.
Hair relaxers, alone, contain several dangerous substances such as Cyclosiloxanes, nonylphenols and phthalates. Aside from their toxicity levels, each of these chemicals have been linked to hormone disruption. Thus, this would lead to an increased risk of developing fibroids, asthma, infertility and even, breast cancer. Unfortunately, maintaining our hair comes at our own risk.
RELATED: What Relaxers Really Do To Your Hair
The Link Between Hair Relaxers & Breast Cancer
The fact that so many Black women use hair products like hair relaxers to manage their hair, makes us wonder if it