Umyeena Bashir is WVE's California Intimate Care Organizing Fellow at WVE and a graduate student at the University of San Francisco studying Organic Chemistry. Umy is passionate about researching period health and educating others on these issues.
While parents are exposed to quats (short for “quaternary ammonium compounds”) from numerous sources, the researchers found that the use of disinfecting products at home related to how much showed up in breast milk.
In this episode, the podcast explores the chemical and cultural issues around Black hair care and interview scientists and activists who are working to ensure that safer products are available.
Released during Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the Non-Toxic Black Beauty Project focuses on specifically supporting Black women’s health because Black women face the highest breast cancer mortality rate of any racial or ethnic group in America. Beauty products marketed to Black women often contain the most toxic cosmetics ingredients, including chemicals linked to cancer. In fact, Black women who regularly dye their hair have a 60% increased risk of breast cancer, and those who use chemical hair straighteners are 30% more likely to develop the disease. By uplifting leading non-toxic Black-owned beauty brands and connecting Black women with products they can trust, CSC aims to combat toxic health disparities to help prevent breast cancer and other diseases.
Because of lack of government oversight, companies can even get away with not disclosing dangerous chemicals contained in these products. In fact, there is no federal law that requires manufacturers of menstrual care products to disclose any of the ingredients used in these products.
Recently, the Robin Danielson Menstrual Product and Intimate Care Product Safety Act of 2022 (HR 8724) was introduced in Congress. If passed, the bill requires a research program focused on studying the health risks of fragrance ingredients, pesticides, phthalates, titanium dioxide, and other ingredients used in these products.