Removal of hair braiding license requirements puts black women at risk

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I recently read the article “The Hair Braiding Bill represents a ‘new narrative’ to the legislature” and Representative Rena Moran’s decision to eliminate the braiding license requirements for women. hair. I strongly disagree. She thinks she is helping us, but she is not. Removing the education element will only place black women at even higher health risks.

“Hair braiding” as defined in HF Chapter 155A includes more than braids – it also includes “locking, sewing, twisting, weaving or winding” hair and extensions by hand and in using only simple braiding devices. These “simple capillary devices” include needles under Minnesota Law 116.76.

These needles are used to install “scalp hair prostheses” as defined in Minnesota Statutes 62A.28, commonly referred to as “custom wigs” as included in the definition of braiding hair, as well as for hair braiding. sewn weaves.

It’s scary because most black women in braiding salons reuse loom needles and don’t use safety gear in hair braiding salons and we have the highest rate of contact with HIV. , HCV and HPV in Minnesota.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that approximately 385,000 sharps injuries occur each year among healthcare workers in hospitals. While there is no injury exposure data from the Board of Cosmetology or the MN Health Department, the CDC reports that such simple injuries with a device have a 24% increased risk with needles. suture.

As a licensed cosmetologist and hair braiding course provider, I helped form the EcoHair Braiders Association, LLC in 2014 with five hair braiding course providers to provide an e-learning course on hair. natural and learning experience for hair braiders. Currently, there are 350 registered hair braiders, 156 active providers of 17 courses, 2 charter schools and four community colleges offering the hair braiding services and program, “Natural Hair Braiding Safety for the Public and Practitioners”. “.

As hair braiders, individuals and entities, we have authorized, reviewed and approved the adoption of the rules by the Cosmetology Board in Chapters 154 and 155A and are now asking lawmakers in Minnesota to modify the HF 140 to include research and informative safety oversight analyzes that create consistency and allow reciprocity among the 24 other states that currently regulate hair braiding and tax billing for credits.

We are also calling for the creation of a needle stick committee to help reduce exposure to bloodborne pathogens by establishing preventative rules for the safety of the state’s citizens.

We don’t want the current hair braiding law repealed, we just want it moved to another chapter in Minnesota’s statutes to fight infections. In addition to needles, “hair braiders” use glue, lighters, and boiling water, which can also create health risks.

We recommend that this infection control training be regulated and include three parts: compliance with bloodborne pathogens through OSHA and its Needlestick Safety and Prevention Act 2000; Red Cross first aid training; and training on personal protective equipment from the Ministry of Labor and Industry to include the use of thimbles and containers. This training could be completed in as little as three hours, but it must take place annually.

We understand Moran’s desire to remove onerous demands on the economy, but ultimately we see that he poses a greater risk to the health of black women who is our greatest form of wealth.

Denise Jarrett is a certified cosmetologist, manager, instructor, school principal, hair braiding course providers and expert witness.



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