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FDA may ban hair-straightening chemical products over health risks

Washington, Oct 16 (IANS) The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is likely to propose a ban on some hair-straightening products, like chemical relaxers and pressing products, due to health risks, according to a report.

The ban is specifically aimed at products that contain formaldehyde and other formaldehyde-releasing chemicals like methylene or glycol.

These chemicals are used in certain cosmetic products that are applied to human hair as part of a combination of chemical and heating tool treatment intended to smooth or straighten the hair.

These “chemicals are linked to short-term adverse health effects, such as sensitisation reactions and breathing problems, and long-term adverse health effects, including an increased risk of certain cancers”, the FDA said.

After issuing a proposed rule, the FDA will review public comments, and decide whether further action is needed.

“Based on the comments, we might decide to end the rulemaking process, to issue a new proposed rule, or to issue a final rule. If we decide to issue a final rule, we publish the final rule in the Federal Register,” the FDA said.

Studies have also linked the chemicals with cancers including ovaries, breast, and uterus. In a study published last year in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, researchers found a link between the use of straightening products and uterine cancer. Among nearly 34,000 women in the US ages 35 to 74, the study found a higher incident uterine cancer rate for those who reported using hair-straightening chemical products in the previous 12 months relative to those who did not.

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