1) A study from the Environmental Working Group (EWG) found that over 75% of products marketed to Black women have ingredients classified as toxic. This compares to 60% of products for the general population that include questionable ingredients like parabens. According to the EWG, toxic ingredients found in products marketed to Black women include sodium hydroxide and formaldehyde found in our haircare products and hydroquinone, a bleaching skin-lightening chemical used in many products marketed to women with deeper tones.
2) Black women have higher levels of parabens. Parabens are used as preservatives in many different products and are absorbed through the skin. Studies show that Black and Latin women have paraben levels 4-8 times higher than the general population. In addition, our newborn babies also have higher levels of parabens as a result of their mothers’ exposure.
3) Black women, fibroids and breast cancer. Parabens act like estrogen and are concentrated in estrogen-sensitive tumors. Black women have more uterine fibroids and more aggressive types of breast cancer. Anything that mimics estrogen should be avoided by women with these tumors.
4) Black women use a lot of personal care products. No one is surprised to hear that Black women spend a lot on haircare products. But we also spend a lot on skincare – in fact, we spend twice as much on skincare as the general population. This means we are more exposed to the chemicals used in personal care products and need to pay attention to the ingredients in our products.