The Civil Writer Magazine

I believe the social determinant for why Black women have a higher rate of cancer and death than other races relates to the chemicals in hair weaves. It is no longer about natural hair Keratin. One of the disparities among black women than Asian/Pacific Islander, Hispanic and American Indian/Alaska Native women and any other race in the world are their use for hair weaves and wigs. Now it is true Black men also have the highest cancer incidence rate. And it is true the causes of these inequalities are complex and can reflect social and economic disparities and cultural differences that affect cancer risk. But if that is true slave women in the 19 century should have had cancer at an alarming rate over 20th century black women.

It is true Black women have lesser mammograms than whites but that is not a leading indicator for why they get cancer more. It can be that African American women face both disproportionate exposure to carcinogens and the highest risk of serious health impacts from wigs and weaves which should show that third world women have a lesser rate of cancer which they do. For science it is a matter of DNA, social stress, or medical causes the last proponent they would look at would be lipstick and wigs. Lipsticks are an international accessory among all women but wigs are not or are limited accessories.

Diverse wigs and weaves hairstyles worn by young African Americans are creative, provocative and historical. They are typically created with chemicals such as fibers of modacrylic, vinyl chloride, vinylidene chloride, polyester, nylon all used in artificial hair that Black women come in contact with 7 days a week and 16 to 24 hours a day. One component Modacrylic fibers have been used conventionally to make wigs, false hair, hair bands, doll hair, rugs, Coveralls/Overalls, door mats and fire resistance clothing. Around 1977 the Dupont Company terminated the manufacture of Modacrylic fiber because they lost I believe 18 employees to cancer. The materials that go into the manufacture of modacrylic are carcinogenic. ... All of the modacrylic used by Drifire is made in either Japan or China.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has determined that vinyl chloride is a known carcinogen. Studies in workers who have breathed vinyl chloride over many years showed an increased risk of liver, brain, lung cancer, and some cancers of the blood have also been observed in workers.

Animal studies indicate that chronic exposure to vinylidene chloride can affect the liver, kidneys, CNS and lungs. Human data are considered inadequate in providing evidence of cancer from exposure to vinylidene chloride. The most recent cancer classification for vinylidene chloride can be found on IRIS.

Researches confirmed that excessive wear of polyester fabrics can generate problems such as skin, lung and heart cancer, among others.

In the 1960s, African American men and women paraded their natural, kinky hair without reservation to symbolize their racial identities. Decades later, young black woman would attempt to subdue their natural look by straightening their hair with a chemical relaxer or wearing wigs and weaves in order to gain greater access to economic opportunities, e.g. jobs, and even relationships. All types of artificial/synthetic hair products are available in the market to address styling needs of African American women but they are full of chemicals including volatile solvents to form these wigs and weaves that Black women wear more often than anyother race. It is a plausible argument.