Beauty & Its Beast: Toxic Chemicals in the Salon

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beauty & its beast: toxic chemicals in salons

Written by Cassidy Randall

Alexandra Scranton, Director of Science and Research at Womens Voices for the Earth, talked to Green Diva Mag about salon toxins in this Green Divas Health & Beauty podcast.

Today Women’s Voices for the Earth released Beauty and its Beast: Unmasking the impact of toxic chemicals on salon workers, the first report of its kind to document how toxic chemicals lurking in hair sprays, permanent waves, acrylic nail application and other salon products are harming the health of women who work in salons.

The report finds that salon workers are at an increased risk of cancer, miscarriages, neurological disorders, immune disorders, asthma, dermatitis and more.

We’re not just talking about cold stats here. There are faces behind these studies, real women who are faced with having to choose between their health and their livelihoods, between toxic chemical exposure or doing the jobs that they love.

And that’s why, with the Beauty and Its Beast report in hand, WVE is bringing salon workers like Jennifer Arce, Dawn Marino, Safiyyah Edley, and others to Washington DC this week to lobby Congress to pass the Safe Cosmetics and Personal Care Products Act. They’ll be telling their stories to lawmakers, federal agencies like the FDA, and the media about how their health has been harmed by toxic toxins

Jennifer, a stylist in southern California, was poisoned to formaldehyde from the popular Brazilian Blowout treatment, experiencing health problems from dizziness and bloody noses to coughing up chunks of blood and being confined to bed for weeks. Never one to just sit back without fighting, Jennifer started the blog Pretty Toxic, and traveled to D.C. to speak about her experience to Congressional members and the FDA. Jennifer just took a leap of faith and opened her own salon with a couple of other women so that she can do the job she loves without exposure to formaldehyde.

Dawn, a stylist in Manhattan also poisoned by formaldehyde in hair straighteners, developed multiple chemical sensitivities as a result. She is frequently incredibly sick with symptoms ranging from breathing problems, dizziness, nausea, headaches, fatigue, chest pains, rashes and memory problems. Dawn also refused to let companies and broken policies get the best of her. She started Pretty Toxic with Jennifer, also traveled to D.C. to advocate for the Safe Cosmetics and Personal Care Products Act, and recently appeared on Dr. Oz to talk about her experience with working with toxic salon products.

Saffiyah, owner of Luv Mi Kinks salon, was recently diagnosed with uterine fibroid tumors after miscarrying her baby. Some research has linked uterine fibroid tumors with a chemical in hair relaxers. Motivated by a vision for a healthier future, Safiyyah has spoken about salon worker health at the Annual National Environmental Justice Advisory Council meeting, with the Salon Interagency Working Group, and with Congressional members to advocate for the federal Safe Cosmetics Act.

Women working in salons shouldn’t have choose between their health and their livelihoods. Every woman has the right to a safe workplace.

toxins in the salon

Take action!

Click here to support these courageous women and ask your Congressional representatives to pass the Safe Cosmetics and Personal Care Products Act.

Together, we can stop toxic chemicals that cause cancer, birth defects, and other health problems from being used in salon, personal care, and cosmetic products. Join us in standing up for women’s health, and eliminating the toxic beast from beauty!

Cassidy RandallCassidy Randall oversees Women’s Voices for the Earth’s market-based campaigns, including organizing women to take action to leading company policy change negotiations. She also coordinates efforts to mobilize and engage women in WVE’s work, including developing the organization’s engagement tools like the Body & Soul series, managing social media presence and the Voices blog, and working closely with the Actionista team. Connect with them on Facebook and on twitter @women4earth. For more information visit




Listen to the full episode of The Green Divas Radio Show

Conscious Consumer, Environment, GD Ticker, Green Divas Radio Show, Healthy Living, Natural Beauty, Natural Health

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The Green Divas

The Green Divas share low-stress ways to live a deeper shade of green through a weekly radio show, podcasts, videos and blog posts. Working with talented partners and credible sources, the Green Divas produce content on a variety of topics relating to a healthy green lifestyle. Visit The Green Divas website to learn more, and check out The Green Divas on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter too!

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