Statement by Kimberly Norman, Ph.D., DABT, ERT, Personal Care Products Council, on Hair Straighteners



Lisa Powers,, (202) 297-1232
Stefanie Harrington,, (202) 615-6558

Washington, D.C. – “The Personal Care Products Council (PCPC) and our member companies believe there is nothing more important than the safety of our products and the trust that consumers place in them. If our consumers can’t believe in a product and rely on it to do what it says, then nothing else matters. Our 600 members represent approximately 90% of the U.S. beauty industry and are some of the most recognized and trusted brands in beauty and personal care today. These companies are committed to ensuring consumer choice and access to safe and effective products that meet the differing needs of individuals and their families. Science and safety are the cornerstone of our industry.

“PCPC is aware of a recent study, published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, reporting the possible association between hair straighteners and the incidence of uterine cancer. A fundamental principle of epidemiology is that association is not the same as causation; one does not necessarily lead to the other. The association observed in the study is with people who straighten their hair, not the ingredients in hair products or any specific chemicals as this data was not collected.

“The study does not account for a number of other differences that may be associated with increased incidence as the ‘uterine cancer cases tended to be older with an earlier age at menarche [the first menstrual period], a higher BMI, and lower physical activity,’ and notes a stronger association of straightener use among women with low physical activity. These other observed associations were largely ignored in the study. Additionally, the study suggests that Black women could be affected more by this observed association of hair straightener use, even though the generated data show ‘no differences in the hazard ratios between racial and ethnic groups.’

“In the U.S., cosmetics, including hair straighteners and relaxers, are regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act) and the Fair Packaging and Labeling Act (FPLA). All cosmetics products and their ingredients are subject to the same safety requirement under the FD&C Act – companies have a legal responsibility to ensure that their products and the ingredients used in them are safe for consumers before they are marketed to the public. Product safety is also established though strict adherence to the principles of Quality Assurance and Good Manufacturing Practices.

“FDA notes that it is important to follow the directions on the label and inside the package for cosmetics products to ensure that the product performs as intended. For more information on our industry, our products and the ingredients used in them, please visit By providing access to accurate information, consumers can make informed choices about the best products available.”


Founded in 1894, the Personal Care Products Council (PCPC) is the voice and advocate for 600 member companies representing the $484.1 billion global cosmetics and personal care products industry. PCPC’s members represent approximately 90% of the U.S. beauty industry and are some of the most beloved and trusted brands in beauty and personal care today. As the manufacturers, distributors and suppliers of a diverse range of products millions of consumers rely on every day – from sunscreens, toothpaste and shampoo to moisturizer, makeup and fragrance – PCPC’s member companies are global leaders committed to product safety, quality and innovation.