It is no secret that the black hair salon is a treasured place for women to connect and feel beautiful. It is also a place that many Naturals are starting to return to as many abandoned them to care for their own tresses. While it has always been a safe space, a new research study is putting that notion into question.
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Laura J. Goldin, professor of Environmental Studies at Brandeis University created a research study to test the air quality in black hair salons along with environmental health scientists, and twelve undergraduate students. This was significant since air quality in white salons have been studied but very little (if any) testing was done in Black hair salons.
Out of the 90 salons in the Boston area were asked to participate, ten agreed and the findings were alarming. 7 out of 10 salons had fine particulate levels which were higher than the prescribed outdoor levels. Carcinogen benzene and carbon dioxide levels were higher than the EPA’s acceptable standard in all 10 salons which indicated insufficient ventilation. The data could not tell if the quality of the air would lead to negative health effects for the employees who are exposed to harsh chemicals such as hydroxide and formaldehyde in relaxers.
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Goldin lamented that there is lack of research in the work environments for women of color and hope that this has sparked interest by other scientists. She joined forces with various research and community based organizations in order to pursue further research into the air quality and the conditions being faced by women of color in the salon.
This article is not to ban you from going to a salon but to make you aware of the air quality in these salons. Hopefully it inspired salon owners to have proper ventilation, get their surroundings checked and to use safe, organic and chemical free products.