The POWER Study
About the study
Black women are disproportionately exposed to many endocrine disrupting chemicals in products. These are chemicals, like phthalates and parabens, that interfere with the body’s hormones and have important impacts on health. Black women also suffer more from hormone-mediated health issues such as uterine fibroids, infertility, early puberty and more aggressive forms of breast and endometrial cancers.
Through the POWER Study, Silent Spring Institute and the Resilient Sisterhood Project are working to educate women about harmful chemicals that contribute to health disparities and safer alternatives. In the first year of the project, we conducted focus groups to understand how women make choices about the products they use. We learned that women often use social media as a resource for personal care product recommendations.
In the second year, we engaged with social media influencers to see if they could help Black women reduce their exposures. We recruited 10 social media influencers with a combined following of more than 780,000. Influencers were asked to do the following:
- Attend an informational workshop on endocrine disrupting chemicals and environmental health
- Create one to two posts on harmful chemicals in products and post on their social media platform
- Share an online survey with their audience
- Report analytics on their posts and share audience feedback
"So true and very personal for me since I have also had similar struggles! Thanks for sharing and working towards educating more black women about how we can take more informed care of our bodies. 🙌❤"
— viewer comment
The social posts reached more than 114,000 followers. Nearly 10,000 followers liked the content and 1,700 followers shared it with their networks. Findings from the online surveys showed the following:
- 74% said the content increased their concern about how chemicals in products may affect their health.
- 83% said they had previously heard about chemicals in products affecting health
- 43% said they may start avoiding chemicals of health concern in the products that they purchase
This study demonstrated that using a novel dissemination approach, we were able to reach thousands of Black women to share information about consumer product chemical exposures, potential impacts on health, and simple, effective steps for shifting to safer alternatives.
Social media influencers
- Dr. Ijeoma Kola (@ijeomakola)
- Bervely Coleman (@curlybeviie)
- Karina BL (@dr.karinab)
- Jo Williams (@jawms)
- Robyn Neal (@robynmneal)
- Kristen Nichole (@thepolecologistphd)
I really love this! I’m really critical about what I put in and put on my body but I still have so much to learn about the different chemicals that go into these everyday products...— viewer comment