Regulatory gaps cause female baldness

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Losing your hair can be incredibly traumatic for women. I once cut my calorie intake to about 900 a day (because I was young and dumb and wanted to look hot for an event) and suffered thinning hair as a consequence. Aside from poor nutrition, women can lose their hair because of age, genetics, hormonal changes, and pollution. Recently, the water in Flint has been linked to hair loss.

But there is one culprit for hair loss that should be entirely preventable: your hair products. Until this week, I was under the assumption that the Food and Drug Administration was looking out for us in that department. That was before I read of the class-action lawsuit that Wen Hair Care settled last week. The company had been advertising that their products were free of detergents and sulfates, and it has been speculated that an alternative may be behind the product’s toxicity.

Personal care products aren’t really regulated in the United States. The 1938 Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act does not require independent testing of products, a full list of ingredients, or the legal authority to require safety information on the label of personal care products. While the food and drug industries have had multiple rules and guidelines written since that time, the cosmetics industry is largely self-regulating.

Last year, a bipartisan bill strengthening the FDA’s authority over the cosmetics industry was proposed by Senators Dianne Feinstein and Susan Collins. It died in committee. The bill was backed by several major cosmetics companies.

Consumers in the US currently don’t have a choice but to trust that companies are being truthful in their labeling. And given a political environment in which “regulation” has been turned into a dirty word, this may remain the case for some time to come.

Now for some cozy things I liked today:

Cooking video of the day: Kohaku Namasu (Vegetables Marinated in Rice Vinegar)

Long read of the day: Vox has a post about the inequality of the bail system

Interior of the day: Several photos of this neutral space can be found here

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