FDA Move to Ban Formaldehyde in Hair Straighteners Called Too Little, Too Late

February 6, 2024 | Source: NPR | by Ronnie Cohen

In April, a dozen years after a federal agency classified formaldehyde a human carcinogen, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is tentatively scheduled to unveil a proposal to consider banning the chemical in hair-straightening products.

The move comes at a time of rising alarm among researchers over the health effects of hair straighteners, products widely used by and heavily marketed to Black women. But advocates and scientists say the proposed new regulation would do far too little, in addition to being far too late.

“The fact that formaldehyde is still allowed in hair care products is mind-blowing to me,” said Linda Birnbaum, a former director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and the National Toxicology Program. “I don’t know what we’re waiting for.”