""How do you change centuries of colonialism and racism that have always uplifted light and white skin tone and features?”"
"Racist beauty standards are driving the use of beauty products that are often contaminated with chemicals that alter the human endocrine system, cause organ damage, and spur cancer in communities of color, according to new research.
Chemical straighteners and skin lighteners — beauty products frequently used among Black and Asian Americans —sometimes contain harmful ingredients such as formaldehyde, mercury and endocrine-disrupting chemicals, and have been linked to health problems such as uterine and breast cancer, kidney and nervous system damage and more. New research published today in Environmental Justice shows the use of these potentially toxic products is spurred by racialized beauty standards.
“Beauty norms that glorify European features do impact product use,” Lariah Edwards, an environmental health researcher at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health and a lead author on the study, told EHN. Examples of these European features include straight hair and light or white skin.
As part of a collaboration between the New-York-City-based environmental justice advocacy group WE ACT and various universities, researchers surveyed 297 women and femme-identifying individuals in Northern Manhattan and the South Bronx about their past and current use of chemical straighteners and skin lighteners. Researchers asked participants whether family members and peers commented on hairstyles or skin tone."
Grace van Deelen reports for Environmental Health News January 19, 2023.