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Toxic Beauty Products

August 16, 2017

Beauty products may lead to health problems in some populations.



A toxic quest for beauty. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Hair and skin care products may be taking a toll on women’s health — especially women of color. This according to George Washington University environmental epidemiologist Ami Zota. In the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, she and her colleagues report that products targeting this population are more likely to contain toxic compounds, and women of color face social pressures to use more of them.

AMI ZOTA (George Washington University):

Whether it’s about hair texture and what’s good hair or bad hair, whether it’s about the whole fair and lovely, light is bright…


…or other racially-skewed norms of beauty — all lead to greater exposure to formaldehyde, lead and mercury that pose health risks. In other words, societal expectations regarding hair styles, skin tone and other cosmetic matters can have consequences that are more than just skin deep. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.

Story by Bob Hirshon