Are Chemicals Poisoning the World’s Female Workers?
By Lucy Sheriff
Women are disproportionately exposed to deadly substances—and may be getting disproportionately sickened by them.
“We can’t necessarily pin it to one thing,” said Alexandra Scranton, director of science and research at Women’s Voices for the Earth, a nonprofit based in Montana that advocates for women’s rights in the workplace and has studied the impact of toxic chemicals on hair and nail salon workers, who are regularly exposed to chemicals in hair sprays and nail glue for acrylic nails. “A lot of the issue has to do with cumulative impacts, which can often get ignored,” she said. “There is very little research into, for example, ‘This group of women who have been exposed to this chemical from X product and they have this health outcome.’ That kind of research—which would be great to have—almost never gets done.”