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August is National Black Business Month

A Black barber with a beard holds a trimmer up to the head of another Black man sitting in a barber's chair

According to a Pew Research Center study, nearly 56 percent of Black adults believe supporting Black-owned businesses is an effective strategy for moving Black people toward equality in the United States. Yet, disparities exist. As of January 2023, the U.S. Census Bureau reported that Black-owned businesses accounted for only 2.4 percent of all businesses in the nation with paid employees. 

August is National Black Business Month, and we at the Hazardous Waste Management Program are reflecting on how institutions like education, employment, health, and the criminal legal system impact the vitality of Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) entrepreneurship. Those very same factors also contribute to underlying causes of exposure to hazardous materials. 
With this connection in mind, in recognition of National Black Business Month, we want to highlight a few businesses and organizations around the Puget Sound region that operate with models that benefit the environment and strengthen community health and wellness.  


Brown Angel Skin and Hair  

Business owner Angela Brown grew up researching harmful ingredients that can be found in skincare and makeup, especially products that are marketed toward Black women. Today, Brown is still raising awareness of about this topic, putting a 2023 report by the Washington Department of Ecology titled, “Chemicals in Cosmetics Used by Washington Residents” as a main feature of her business website. Brown Angel Skin and Hair offers an array of “clean beauty” products using natural ingredients that are ethically sourced. Visit the Brown Angel Skin and Hair website to learn more. 

Clean Greens Farm & Market  

Founded in 2007 by Project of Black Dollar Days Task Force, a local group of African American small business owners, Clean Greens provides chemical-free produce to African American, low-income, and BIPOC community members in Seattle. Their goal is to combat food insecurity and improve community health by running a community supported agriculture (CSA) program and training youth how to grow healthy food without pesticides that can expose people to hazardous chemicals, compost and recycle, and learn about food justice. Visit the Clean Greens website to learn more.

Noir Lux Candle Company 

Fragrances are a sneaky source of harmful chemicals including a group of chemicals called phthalates. According to the Washington Department of Ecology, phthalates are used to extend the life of scents in fragrances, but several studies have shown that phthalates are endocrine disrupters that can impair reproduction and healthy development in people and wildlife. Noir Lux candles are created with phthalate-free fragrance oils. Visit the Noir Lux website to learn more. 

Hip Hop is Green 

This Seattle-based organization uses the power of hip hop to support health education and environmental transformation of urban communities. Their Youth Excellent Program geared for Black and other young people of color provides immersive training and education about climate change, agriculture sustainability, green jobs readiness, and food justice. Visit the Hip Hop is Green website to learn more. 

The Haz Waste Program does not endorse the businesses, services, or products listed in this blog post. If you’d like to explore more Black-owned businesses and organizations in our region, check out these resources: 


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