Study links chemical hair straightener, dyes and risk of breast cancer


CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – A new study in the International Journal of Cancer found there may be a link between chemical hair straighteners, dyes and breast cancer.

While the study found there may be a link, the impact is small and researchers say those most at risk are women already at a high risk of developing breast cancer.

The study, based on the medical records of more than 45,000 women, found that black women who regularly used permanent hair dyes were 60 percent more likely to develop breast cancer compared to those who did not.

Now only 9 percent of women in the study were black and all had at least one sister who had breast cancer.

Permanent hair dye, chemical straighteners may increase breast cancer risk

UMass-Amherst Professor Joseph Jerry wants to emphasize there is no definite link between hair straightening or dying products and breast cancer.

“With that said, it doesn’t mean that there may be a sub-group of women who are very sensitive to these compounds and for them this would be a potentially significant risk,” said Jerry.

The study also found that those using chemical hair straighteners, regardless of race, saw a 30 percent increase in the risk of breast cancer development.

Professor Jerry recommends that people who have a higher risk of developing the disease may want to take steps in reducing their exposure to the chemicals found in hair straighteners and dyes.

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