I am sure that by now you have seen the article that sparked this discussion. It is a poignant piece on the dangerous side effects that chemical services are having on salon workers and women who receive chemical services including relaxers.
Teni Adewumi is a graduate student from UCLA Fielding School of Public Health and she has been working to make salons safer for women of color based on the findings that working with chemicals has been co related to a number of health issues for stylists and clients alike.
Teni did a survey of African-American salon workers in Inglewood California and here is what the article said about her findings:
When Teni Adewumi surveyed African-American salon workers in Inglewood, California, she kept seeing the same health concerns over and over: Asthma. Dermatitis. Hair loss. Uterine fibroids. Miscarriage. Veteran stylists told her they experienced symptoms when they applied relaxers and other chemical hair straighteners, and they now preferred working with natural styles. But many didn’t know that the products they used could be making them sick.
There is always the temptation to pick on relaxers as the sole cause of ailments like Uterine fibroids because that is what we have speculated about over the last 10 years that the natural hair movement has picked up steam.
However as studies have suggested, working with chemicals over all in the salon can have adverse effects on people who have limited knowledge on how to work with chemicals safely.
Epidemiological studies dating back to the 1980s have found that hair stylists are at risk for a range of chronic occupational health conditions, including skin and respiratory diseases and adverse reproductive outcomes. Certain toxic chemicals found in hair glues and straighteners, such as formaldehyde, styrene, and trichloroethylene, have been linked to cancer, liver damage, and dermatitis.
“When we held focus groups with salon workers, we found these stories of lack of education on chemical exposures and chemical-related health problems,” Adewumi says. “Even though they had all gone to beauty school, there was just really no training around what these products could do to your body and to your reproductive system.”
The point I really want to drive home to women who might read this article is that you should not limit the study to just the dangers of relaxers.