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The F.D.A. Wanted to Ban Some Hair Straighteners. It Never Happened.

The F.D.A. Wanted to Ban Some Hair Straighteners. It Never Happened.

The New York Times
by Roni Caryn Rabin

In 2016, agency scientists deemed hair straighteners containing formaldehyde to be unsafe, according to newly obtained emails.

“Products containing formaldehyde may soon be taken off the market in at least one state: Last month, Gov. Gavin Newsom of California signed the Toxic-Free Cosmetics Act into law. The law prohibits the use of a dozen chemicals in cosmetics, including formaldehyde, mercury, phthalates and parabens.

Salon workers experience the most exposure to the hair straightening products, according to the nonprofit group Women’s Voices for the Earth. Many hair dressers say they always assumed products that were on the market were safe.

“When I would try to speak up about this, my co-workers always said, ‘If it was that bad for you, it wouldn’t be legal,’” said Emily Baedeker, a hair dresser in Alameda, Calif., who got migraines when Brazilian Blowout was used around her. “The assumption is that there is an invisible safety net that protects us.”’

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