Don’t Endanger Black Women’s Health With Allegedly Toxic Hair Products

Target: Chuck Schumer, U.S. Senate Majority Leader

Goal: Ban hair discrimination that disproportionately targets Black women.

A link may exist between hair straightening products and uterine cancer. This disturbing finding from a National Institute of Health (NIH) study caused a stir, as it cited research that women who frequently use these products exhibited as much as four times the rate of uterine cancer than infrequent or non-users. The research also adds another layer to the debate about hair discrimination.

Black Americans, especially Black women, tend to be among the most faithful consumers of hair straightening and hair relaxing products. One driving reason for these higher rates of usage is the pressure that Black individuals (who often have thicker and more textured hair) face to conform to certain hairstyles, especially in educational settings or in the workplace. A different study found that Black women are the most likely to face reprimands or backlash at work due to their hair. An overwhelming 80 percent of Black women felt compelled to change their hairstyles as a result.

The products they rely upon to achieve these changes are rife with harsh and often dangerous chemicals that seep into the body. The proposed Crown Act would lessen the need for these products by prohibiting discrimination for federal programs or for employment based on an individual’s hair texture or hairstyle. This initiative has gained the support of major organizations like the NAACP and SAG-AFTRA.

Sign the petition below to join in the calls for final passage of this long-overdue effort.


Dear Senator Schumer,

The House of Representatives recently took important action in passing the Crown Act to end the practice of hair discrimination in the workplace and beyond. This proposed law could impact the lives of millions of Americans for the better, especially minorities who disproportionately bear the brunt of unfair treatment based on their natural hair and preferred hairstyles. The latest revelation from NIH about the potentially cancerous effect of hair straightening products used by individuals trying to conform shines an even more urgent spotlight on the problem.

Time is running out for the Senate to at last take action. Please bring this needed reform to a vote as soon as possible. Do not let an issue that impacts personal freedom and health get lost in the shuffle of political shakeups.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Orione Conceicao

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