Unleashing a Needle and Removing ‘hair braiding license’ requirements puts Black women at risk

I recently read the article “Hair braiding bill represents ‘new narrative’ at legislature” and Rep. Rena Moran’s move to eliminate hair braiding license requirements. I strongly disagree. She thinks she’s helping us, but she’s not. Removing the education piece will only place Black women at even higher health risks.

Hair braiding” as defined in HF Chapter 155A includes more than just cornrows — it also includes “locking, sewing, twisting, weaving, or wrapping” hair and extensions by hand and by only using simple braiding devices. Those “simple hair devices” include needles under Minnesota Statute 116.76.

These needles are used for installing “scalp hair prostheses” as defined in Minnesota Statutes 62A.28, commonly known as “customized wigs” as included in the Hair Braiding definition, as well as for sew-in weaves.

This is scary as most Black women in braiding salons re-use weaving needles and do not use safety equipment in hair braiding salons and we are the highest rate of HIV, HPV and HPV contacting in Minnesota.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that about 385,000 sharps-related injuries occur annually among health care workers in hospitals. While there is no data for exposure to injuries by the Board of Cosmetology or the MN Health Department, the CDC reports that such simple device injuries pose a 24 percent increased risk with suture needles.

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

As hair braiders, individuals and entities, we authorized, reviewed, and approved the adoption of the rules by the Board of Cosmetology into Chapter 154 and 155A and are now asking Minnesota’s legislators to amend SF 2227 to include informative safety oversight research and analysis that will create uniformity and allow reciprocation between 24 other states that currently regulate hair braiding and fiscal note for appropriations.

We also request the creation of a Needle-Stick Committee to help reduce exposure to bloodborne pathogens by establishing preventive rules for the safety of the citizens of the state.

We do not want the current hair braiding law repealed, we just want it transferred to another chapter in the Minnesota Statutes to address infection control. In addition to needles, “hair braiders” use glue, cigarette lighters and boiling hot water which could also create health risks. 

We recommend this infection control training be regulated and include three parts: bloodborne pathogen compliance via OSHA and its Needlestick Safety and Prevention Act of 2000; first-aid training from Red Cross; and personal protective equipment training from the Department of Labor and industry to include the use of thimbles and containers. This training could be completed in as few as three hours, but needs to happen annually.

We understand Moran’s desire to remove cumbersome requirements as it relates to the economy, but ultimately see it posing a greater risk for the health of Black women which is our greatest form of wealth.

Contact Gov. Tim Walz with your concerns and read the full article on Minnesota Spokesmen-Recorder.

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Attorney Justin Pearson, for example, noted a provision that requires hair braiders who use a weft, which is needed for popular African American hair braiding, requires a license. The weft-less braiding of white women’s hair faces no such obstacle.

☑️Read the full story here.

Contact the following immediately:
Rep. Mike Nelson rep.michael.nelson@house.mn651-296-3751 
Sen. Mary Kiffmeyer sen.mary.kiffmeyer@senate.mn651-296-5655

Please remember to provide your name and contact information with your communication. This is a developing story, and we will update you accordingly.

Thank you for your PROMPT attention to this critical matter!

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Burning Braids as a Natural Hair Braider is Dangerous!

Burning Braids can be dangerous
Yes burning plastic is harmful. You should wear a safety mask while burning braids.

Braid Lighter Safety Demo at The MN Capital

After reading the I’m wondering why did Moran evaluate the hours in Lousiana at 500 hours when Tennessee has just reduced the required hours from 300 to 16 hours?

“It’s not like Louisiana that requires 500 hours, but we want to make sure that we are not creating mandates that are getting in the way of Black women being business owners,” said Moran.

 “It’s just a healthy thing to do to wash a comb before you use it on another person’s head or take note of a scalp issue. But that’s more of an educational piece that needs to take place,” she added. “There are ways to work with the [MN] Department of Health to get those basic type of safety criteria in place.”

Is Moran looking to increase the hours from 30 to possibly nearer to 500? And what will be the requirements through the Minnesota Dept. of Health?

We know that plastic particles are emitted in hair braiding salons.

We know needles are use and NEVER cleaned for sew-in weaves, dred repaires and styling.

We know that burning boiling hot tea pots and cups of water being used to style braids.

Please check out this article for yourself at Minnesotas Spokesman-Recorders article click here.