Two Black Congresswomen Are Responsible for FDA’s Proposed Ban of Hair Relaxers with Formaldehyde


October 31, 2023

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is planning to propose a ban on certain hair-straightening products, such as chemical relaxers and pressing products, reports NBC News. The reason for the ban is that certain products have been linked to health risks, according to an entry in the Unified Agenda.

The attention brought to these possibly harmful hair products is because of two Black congresswomen, representatives Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) and Shontel Brown (D-OH).

The congresswomen wrote a letter to the FDA earlier this year, asking the agency to investigate chemical straighteners. The letter read, “We write to request the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) conduct a thorough and transparent investigation to determine whether publicly available chemical hair straightening products contain carcinogens that lead to a higher risk of uterine cancer.”

Now, the congresswomen are taking the proposed ban as a win for Black women everywhere.


“The F.D.A.’s proposal to ban these harmful chemicals in hair straighteners and relaxers is a win for public health – especially the health of Black women who are disproportionately put at risk by these products as a result of systemic racism and anti-Black hair sentiment,” said Rep. Pressley.

Rep. Brown also issued a statement. “On behalf of women, especially Black women across the country, I applaud the F.D.A.’s new proposed rule banning formaldehyde and other harmful chemicals from hair straighteners,” Rep. Brown said.

The proposed rule would specifically ban hair-straightening products that contain formaldehyde and other formaldehyde-releasing chemicals like methylene or glycol.


Photo by Michael Brochstein / SOPA Images / Shutterstock

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Ms. Juliet Hunte
Ms. Juliet Hunte
6 months ago

Wonderful, thank you

Tanaga Rodgers
Tanaga Rodgers
6 months ago

Thanks for keeping us in the loop. I am grateful that we have representation that is concerned about health issues specific to our community. Representation matters.


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