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Heavy metals in hair relaxers

While the active ingredient in hair relaxers is usually a strong alkali, some formulas also contain toxic agents such as phthalates, parabens, and heavy metals. These chemicals are hazardous, as regular exposure can lead to the development of debilitating or even life-threatening diseases.

Heavy metals are essential to life and normally occur in nature but can become toxic through accumulation in organisms. The primary sources of heavy metals include:

  • foundries
  • smelters
  • oil refineries
  • petrochemical plants
  • pesticides
  • chemical industry
  • metal piping
  • electronic waste

The impact of heavy metals on human health

A study conducted by the Silent Spring Institute examined 18 beauty products, including hair care products such as leave-in conditioners, root stimulators, and at-home relaxers. The scientists tested the formulas and detected 45 chemicals suspected of endocrine-disrupting or carcinogenic properties.

The occurrence of heavy metals in hair care products is of concern for the following reasons: these products could represent a source of daily, often long-term exposure to heavy metals. Heavy metals can accumulate in the body, leading to health problems as some are highly toxic.

The effects on human health from exposure to the three most common heavy metals include:

  • Mercury exposure can harm the immune system and several organs, the brain, heart, kidneys, and lungs. Some studies have suggested that methylmercury may cause cancer in humans.
  • Exposure to lead may cause cardiovascular, renal, gastrointestinal, hematological, and reproductive health problems.
  • Exposure to cadmium can cause pulmonary irritation, kidney disease, bone weakness, and possibly lung, prostate, and kidney cancer.

Recent studies link the use of hair relaxers to severe diseases

According to the Silent Spring study, hair relaxers marketed to African American women contain more toxic chemicals and heavy metals. Some of these harmful ingredients might not be listed, so it is recommended to use hair relaxers manufactured by ethical companies that refrain from using toxic ingredients in their products.

Jessica Helm, environmental health scientist and the lead author of the Silent Spring study, stated that “Hair relaxers and root stimulators consistently contained higher numbers of endocrine-disrupting chemicals.” According to the study, the load of chemicals and heavy metals in these products affects the endocrine system.

 Researchers detected the following heavy metals in most hair relaxers:

  • cadmium
  • lead
  • mercury
  • arsenic

Atraxia Law can help you file a toxic hair relaxer claim

Regardless of what chemical hair relaxers you used for years,  there might be a connection if you were diagnosed with hormone-sensitive cancers such as:

Therefore, please feel free to contact us for a quick free case evaluation over the phone. With more than 35 years of experience, our team of experts is ready to determine whether you meet the eligibility requirements to file a toxic hair relaxer claim against the manufacturers. If we deem you eligible, we will put you in contact with an excellent attorney specializing in toxic exposure cases.

Free case evaluation

10 Minutes Over the Phone

*No fees unless compensation is obtained