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FDA May Issue Ban on Chemicals in Some Hair Straighteners

Two African American Congresswomen supported the FDA’s move, having written a letter to the agency earlier in the year requesting an investigation into the health impacts of the hair products. One is Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.), who went public with her alopecia diagnosis a few years ago, and the other is Rep. Shontel Brown (D-Ohio). They released a joint statement. “The FDA’s proposal to ban these harmful chemicals in hair straighteners and relaxers is a win for public health – especially the health of Black women who are disproportionately put at risk by these products as a result of systemic racism and anti-Black hair sentiment,” the statement read.

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Photo: iStock photo image.
Photo: iStock photo image.

Special to The Post

Citing possible links to uterine and other cancers, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is considering a ban on chemicals in some hair straightening products.

According to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, “this proposed rule would ban formaldehyde (FA) and other FA-releasing chemicals (e.g., methylene glycol) as an ingredient in hair smoothing or hair straightening products marketed in the United States.

“Use of hair smoothing products containing FA and FA-releasing chemicals is linked to short-term adverse health effects, such as sensitization reactions and breathing problems, and long-term adverse health effects, including an increased risk of certain cancers.

Although these studies don’t say that the rate of cancer is higher for Black women, it is noted that Black women are more likely to use them and start at an earlier age.

Two African American Congresswomen supported the FDA’s move, having written a letter to the agency earlier in the year requesting an investigation into the health impacts of the hair products.

One is Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.), who went public with her alopecia diagnosis a few years ago, and the other is Rep. Shontel Brown (D-Ohio). They released a joint statement.

“The FDA’s proposal to ban these harmful chemicals in hair straighteners and relaxers is a win for public health – especially the health of Black women who are disproportionately put at risk by these products as a result of systemic racism and anti-Black hair sentiment,” the statement read.

“Regardless of how we wear our hair, we should be allowed to show up in the world without putting our health at risk. I applaud the FDA for being responsive to our calls and advancing a rule that will help prevent manufacturers from making a profit at the expense of our health,” Pressley said in the statement. “The administration should finalize this rule without delay.”

Some manufacturers of these products are already facing legal battles by users reporting health issues. More than 250 lawsuits have been filed recently against hair product producers like L’Oreal USA.

Sources for this report include WebMd, Reuters, and Rep. Ayanna Presley’s press office.

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Oakland Post: Week of November 22 – 28, 2023

The printed Weekly Edition of the Oakland Post: Week of November 22 – 28, 2023

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The printed Weekly Edition of the Oakland Post: Week of November 22 - 28, 2023

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Oakland Post: Week of November 15 – 21, 2023

The printed Weekly Edition of the Oakland Post: Week of November 15 – 21, 2023

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The printed Weekly Edition of the Oakland Post: Week of November 15 - 21, 2023

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School Board President Shuts Down Meeting Trying to Silence Gaza Ceasefire Protesters

Since the executive board of the Oakland Education Association originally took a stand to oppose genocide and call for a ceasefire, the union has been under intense criticism both from mainstream media and an Oakland parents’ group, which has been encouraging teachers to quit the union.

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By Ken Epstein

Several hundred people, including teachers, school staff, students, parents, and community activists, showed up at the Oakland Unified School District board meeting Wednesday night, most of them calling on the board to pass a resolution to support an immediate ceasefire in Gaza and end the killing of civilians, when school board President Mike Hutchinson refused to let them speak and abruptly shut down the meeting as they demanded to be heard.

At the start of the meeting, Hutchinson announced that a resolution proposed by Board member Valarie Bachelor, “Calling for a Ceasefire and Release of Hostages in Israel and Palestine,” would not be discussed that evening and that there was no place anywhere on the agenda where attendees would be allowed to speak on the issue.

However, there was a moment of confusion when the parliamentarian, speaking over Hutchinson’s objections, explained that there was one 30-minute period for people to discuss nonagenda items.

A chorus of boos filled the auditorium as Hutchinson attempted to move on. He quickly suspended the meeting, and he and several other board members left the room, though some board members remained.

One young woman shouted at Hutchinson. “You’re having a tantrum, and we’re talking about genocide.”

People crowded around a bullhorn at the front of the room, and attendees held their own meeting.

“You are on the right side of history – we’ll be back,” said a youth soccer coach, Maria Martinez.

A young woman named Lulwa said, ‘I believe we all deserve our land, we all deserve our freedom, and we all deserve not to have our children bombed. The media is lying to us, and social media is bringing us together.”

Lulwa explained that she has been living in the U.S. and Oakland since the age of 9. “I was taken in by the community in Oakland, and I was loved.”

Board member Bachelor was cheered as she spoke on the bullhorn, supporting the people of Palestine and the people of Israel.

“We have to stop killing children, we have to stop bombing hospitals, we have to stop killing UN workers; we have to stop the killing,” she said. “We are a global community. The fight continues.”

A woman who identified herself as a Jewish Oakland teacher said, “The school board does not speak for the teachers, Monday night, we (teachers) passed a very strong resolution demanding an end to the genocide in Gaza and an end to U.S. funding (for the war).

An Oakland man named Izzy said, “What did the school board do today? They walked out on our kids…. There’s nobody to blame but Mike Hutchinson.”

Jabari Shaw said that African Americans stand in solidarity with Palestine. “We know how it is to not be recognized as human beings,” he said.

Since the executive board of the Oakland Education Association originally took a stand to oppose genocide and call for a ceasefire, the union has been under intense criticism both from mainstream media and an Oakland parents’ group, which has been encouraging teachers to quit the union.

However, on Monday evening, union delegates from the Oakland schools upheld a strong position, voting 66 to 31 in favor of a ceasefire.

Hutchinson and board member Sam Davis, joined by school board candidate Jorge Lerma, have been working with the parent group in opposition to the teachers’ union.

But another group of parents and community members supporting the teachers’ union’s stance just started a petition in the last couple of days and has already received over 300 signatures.

“As Oakland parents, caregivers, and community members, we are committed to the safety and well-being of all of our children,” the petition said. “We are writing to express our solidarity with the families of Palestine and to express support for district leaders and the OEA for standing in solidarity with the people of Palestine.”

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