Study Shows Hair Dye And Straighteners Increase Risk Of Breast Cancer Among Black Women

December 6, 2019
A new study shows that hair dye and straightening hair could be linked to cancer.

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Women should take note of the chemicals used in hair dyes and chemical straighteners according to a new study. The International Journal of Cancer published an analysis linking the frequent use of permanent hair dye and chemical straighteners to an increased risk of breast cancer, especially among black women.

The analysis cited a study conducted by Sister Study which collected information from women ages 35 through 74 and found that black women who frequently use permanent hair dye were 60 percent more likely to develop breast cancer compared to those who do not. Though the study was not conclusive in proving that increased use of chemicals in hair causes breast cancer experts think that the link could be due to stronger chemicals being used in products used for variations in hair textures, the New York Times reports.

Heating tools were also shown to be linked to a possible increased risk for breast cancer. However because of the less than 10 percent of the black women involved in the study and all of the women only being tracked over a period of eight years it does not suggest that these products cause cancer.

“You cannot, based on these data, make the statement that hair dyes and straighteners cause breast cancer,” said Dr. Larry Norton, medical director of the Evelyn H. Lauder Breast Center at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York. “These effects were small.”

All women in the study were also already at risk for breast cancer by having a sister who had been diagnosed with the disease.

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