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BWW Environmental Justice Team Event

The Environmental Justice program works to build healthier communities by addressing issues caused and perpetuated by environmental racism. We work on issues such as the elimination of oil drilling, the reduction of harms associated with plastic pollution, the exposure of toxic chemicals in our personal and hair care products, and more.

Black Women for Wellness’ environmental justice work is split into two main categories: 

  • Built Environment:
    • Eliminating neighborhood oil drilling 
    • Drinking water equity 
    • Reducing plastic pollution 
    • Green social housing 
  • Beauty Justice:
    • Health education and research on toxic chemicals in personal products  
    • Advocacy around reducing chemical use in products 
    • Breast health public education 
    • Occupational health of salon workers

To find out more information about this program, please browse this page and look at the resources and media below. For further detail, and to find out how you can become involved, contact Tianna Shaw-Wakeman, Environmental Justice Program Manager.


Upcoming Events

Becoming Hazel and Birthing a Movement

Black people protesting in a rally

environmental justice:
built environment

The built environment in Los Angeles hasn’t been designed equitably.

Black and Brown people face more environmental burdens in their neighborhoods, which includes everything from experiencing water quality concerns and worse air quality to the presence of toxic facilities like oil wells.

At BWW, we work to address some of these harms.

  • Oil Drilling Elimination. We are proud members of STAND LA, a coalition to bring an end to neighborhood oil drilling. Recently, LA County and LA City voted in favor of phasing out oil drilling across Los Angeles. Now, we are in the midst of making these votes a reality and making sure that community voices are centered in the discussion of what these sites become.
  • Water Equity. We work to understand and address our community’s water quality, affordability, and accessibility concerns. If you have any water concerns, please reach out to us. Otherwise, check out our handout about water issues in LA, and about steps you can take to address your water concerns at home!
  • Reducing Plastic Pollution. Plastic is everywhere – in cosmetics, our clothes, food and beverage packaging, toys, car parts, and so much more. Plastic is a product of the fossil fuel industry, and the manufacture, use, and disposal of plastic involves significant health harms. People of color and low-income communities are affected the most by this toxic supply chain, and we are working on both health education and advocacy to mitigate these problems. Download our plastics pollution handout to learn more!
  • Green Social Housing. Green social housing is a housing model that aims to ensure permanently affordable and environmentally sustainable housing for residents, and to guarantee residents democratic decision-making power over their homes. As members of the California Green New Deal Coalition, we are working to advocate for community-oriented solutions to the statewide housing crisis.

environmental justice:
beauty justice

Black women are overexposed and underprotected in the world of beauty.

Due to eurocentric beauty standards, poor government regulation, and systemic racism, Black women are sold products with ingredients that are harmful to reproductive and respiratory health. This is called the environmental injustice of beauty, and it is even more severe for beauty industry professionals who work with dangerous ingredients in products everyday. We deserve better!

  • We host Curls & Conversations events to shine a light on this issue and to educate about healthy hair.
  • We work directly with hairstylists and barbers to advocate on their behalf, listen to, and address health concerns.
  • We develop breast health education to promote awareness of the links between toxic beauty products and the breast cancer disparities faced by Black women, and to offer safer beauty tips.
Healthy Hair Initiatives

Here are two recent reports that BWW has collaborated on:

Black Hair Care Survey

Download BWW and Occidental College’s report on attitudes surrounding clean beauty in our communities.

BWW Black Hair Survey

Exposed: Ingredients in Salon Products & Salon Worker Health and Safety

  • This report spotlights how new ingredient disclosure requirements for professional salon products are providing improved and vital information about chemical exposure from the use of these products. The report reveals over 30 hazardous ingredients in professional salon products that have not been disclosed on product labels – until now! 
  • There is also a fact sheet highlighting the toxic chemicals in salon products identified in this report, available in English, Spanish, and Vietnamese.


Exposed: Ingredients in Salon Products & Salon Worker Health and Safety »

Spanish Translation »

Fact sheet spotlighting toxic chemicals in salon products identified in this report is available in EnglishSpanish, and Vietnamese.

Exposed: Ingredients in Salon Products & Salon Worker Health and Safety
Non Toxic Hair and beaut Products

resources for you

Check out these resources to help keep you and your family safe.

johnson and johnson

Black Women for Wellness has led the charge against Johnson & Johnson to force them to stop selling their asbestos-contaminated talc baby powder.

In August 2022, after years of advocacy, Johnson & Johnson announced that they will stop selling their talc-based baby powder globally! Read more here.


  • August 2021: 200 organizations from 51 countries signed onto a letter written by BWW asking J&J to stop selling its baby powder products globally. 
  • October 2021: J&J continued to sell and market talc-based baby powder in the U.S. This is shown in a Worldwide Research Brief for Black Women for Wellness. 
  • February 2022: Despite there being over 38,000 active lawsuits against J&J related to asbestos in their talc-based baby powder, J&J denied wrongdoing and won a court battle to proceed with its plan to shield itself from responsibility and deny thousands of people due process. 
  • Spring 2022: This video was banned from being shown to shareholders about J&J’s harms.

reading materials

Environmental justice reading materials and educational literature.

  • Coming Clean policy papers on how to bring about a toxic-free future. Learn More!
  • Dr. Robert Buillard, considered to be the father of Environmental Justice, has many books on the issues at hand. Check them out here!
  • Hazel M. Johnson is considered the mother of the environmental justice movement, and spent years researching the links between industrial pollutants and negative health impacts in her Chicago community. Read more about her life and legacy here!
Non Toxic Hair and beaut Products

environmental justice videos

environmental justice media

“How to Live Fashionably Well in a Fast Fashion Society”

Environmental Justice Session with Dr. Astrid Williams and Samata Pattinson.

Environmental Justice Session - 2023 Reproductive Conference
Environmental Justice Session - Dr. Astrid Williams - 2023 Reproductive Conference
Environmental Justice Session - Samata Pattinson - 2023 Reproductive Conference