Measurement of endocrine disrupting and asthma-associated chemicals in hair products used by Black women



Background - Personal care products are a source of exposure to endocrine disrupting and asthma-associated chemicals. Because use of hair products differs by race/ethnicity, these products may contribute to exposure and disease disparities.

Objective - This preliminary study investigates the endocrine disrupting and asthma-associated chemical content of hair products used by U.S. Black women.

Methods - We used gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS) to test 18 hair products in 6 categories used by Black women: hot oil treatment, anti-frizz/polish, leave-in conditioner, root stimulator, hair lotion, and relaxer. We tested for 66 chemicals belonging to 10 chemical classes: ultraviolet (UV) filters, cyclosiloxanes, glycol ethers, fragrances, alkylphenols, ethanolamines, antimicrobials, bisphenol A, phthalates, and parabens.

Results - The hair products tested contained 45 endocrine disrupting or asthma-associated chemicals, including every targeted chemical class. We found cyclosiloxanes, parabens, and the fragrance marker,  DEP, at the highest levels, and DEP most frequently. Root stimulators, hair lotions, and relaxers frequently contained nonylphenol, parabens, and fragrances; anti-frizz products contained cyclosiloxanes. Hair relaxers for children contained five chemicals regulated by California's Proposition 65 or prohibited by EU cosmetics regulation. Targeted chemicals were generally not listed on the product label.


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