Hair Colorants, Straighteners Increase Risks of Breast Cancer

Permanent hair dyes and chemical straighteners are reported to be associated to to elevate risks for breast cancer according to a study published by the International Journal of Cancer. 

As per Medical Xpress, using data from 46,709 women in the Sister Study, researchers at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), part of NIH, found that women who regularly used permanent hair dye in the year prior to enrolling in the study were 9% more likely than women who didn’t use hair dye to develop breast

The link was particularly evident in black women — their use of permanent dye was associated with 45% higher breast cancer risk, while white women faced a 7% higher risk. Straightener use was associated with 18% higher breast cancer risk.

“We know that a lot of different factors influence a woman’s risk of developing breast cancer, and these risks we see here, they are meaningful but they are small,” said Alexandra White, an investigator at the Epidemiology Branch of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.

“Women should take that into context with everything else in their life, including their physical activity and diet. These are all factors we have to consider when we’re thinking about our long-term health risks.”

“While these results are intriguing, they do not provide good evidence that hair dyes or chemical straighteners are associated with a meaningful increase in risk of breast cancer or that any increased risk association is causal,” said Paul Pharoah, a professor of cancer epidemiology at the University of Cambridge, in a statement.

“Women who have used such products in the past should not be concerned about their risks.”


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